Transcendentalism: A Literary And Philosophical Movement

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Transcendentalism was a literary and philosophical movement in the early 1900s in the U.S. It is based on the philosophy that an individual must be self-reliant and independent to be at their best. Transcendentalist believed that organized religious and political institution ruined the pureness of an individual. Furthermore, they assumed that every person has the knowledge about themselves and surroundings around them that go beyond what they sense (hear, taste, feel and see) through imagination and institution rather than logic. Transcendentalism emerged from Unitarianism and is cited as the base of Romanticism in American literature. There were various individuals and organization that shaped the movement. In the early days, Transcendental …show more content…
Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American poet and essayist renowned for his rational probes of individual. He is considered to be one of the prominent writer and thinker of the U.S. in 19th century. Emerson was born on 25 May 1803 in Boston Massachusetts. He was educated in Harvard University like many other transcendentalists. During Harvard, Emerson studied various scholarly religious and poetic texts as well as sampled the treatises and travelogues. After graduating from Harvard, Emerson became a Unitarian minister, but his life changed personally and professionally after the death of his wife, Ellen Tucker Emerson in 1831. The following year Emerson resigned from Unitarian minister arguing he didn’t have faith on special divinity of Jesus. Emerson along with Frederic Henry Hedge, George Putnam and George Ripley planned intellectual meeting which later would be called the Transcendent club, a focal point of the movement. He also served as the editor of transcendentalist periodical Dial from 1842 to 1844. His writings and lectures were primarily based on the notion of individuality, freedom and capability of a person to understand almost everything. His notable work includes Nature, an essay formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism, a speech entitled the American Scholar and Self Reliance (an essay). …show more content…
Thoreau was an American author, philosopher, abolitionist and naturalist. He was born on Concord, Massachusetts to an English family in July 12, 1817and educated at Harvard University. Thoreau explored individualism through nature, more popularly in Walden and Civil Disobedience. Walden was initially an experiment on self-reliance, when he went to Walden Pond and lived in a small house without the disturbance of society. Later, he put his experiment into words and concluded that we waste our life looking for wealth and society. He was greatly inspired by fellow transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson and wrote for Dial when Emerson was the editor. Being an abolitionist, he delivered lectures against the slavery system and attacked Fugitive Slave Law. He was also jailed briefly for not paying the poll tax hence referred also as tax resistor. Thoreau philosophy on Civil Disobedience purposed the law shouldn’t be followed if ethical institution held them to unfair inspired, many famous personnel that include the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Martin Luther King Jr. to name few of them. At the age of 44, on May 6, 1862 he died of

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