Hawthorne And Melville's Anti-Transcendentalism Movement

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Transcendentalism is a philosophy that originated in the 1830's. Its chief aficionado, Ralph Waldo Emerson, began the movement by meeting regularly with other intellectuals of the time to discuss a various array of topics. The Transcendentalism movement was the mainstream flow of writers in the New England Renaissance, large in part to it affected all of the scholars of the period.

The contrasting philosophy anti- Transcendentalism was a small philosophical movement predominantly consisting of only two writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville. These two were leaders of a movement that dared to go against the conventional belief. Hawthorne and Melville are considered two of the greater fiction writer of their time and together these
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Though always changing and never having a standard set of beliefs Transcendentalists general agreed on certain key points in their philosophy: man is born good, children are Gods most perfect creation, one can only find god in and through nature the belief in universal truths, and the over-soul pool concept. Anti- transcendentalism on the other hand believed that humans had to struggle for goodness; evil was its own entity and sin was an active force--the exact opposite of the innate goodness the Transcendentalists believed in.

Transcendentalism is a very formal word that describes a very simple idea. People, men and women equally, have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that "transcends" or goes beyond what they can see, hear, taste, touch or
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There were six characteristics of anti-transcendentalism; evil which was the dominant force of work in anti-transcendentalism writing that believed in the inherent of evil within humans, Guilt which was a common motif of inherited guilt, Limitations where they believed that humans have limitations of the knowledge of the human spirit, nature that they believed the nature world was unexplainable, unpredictable, indifferent and often paraxial. Another characteristic was battle, which they believed human posses the potential for both good and bad. The last Characteristic was mystery where they believed the truths of existence are exclusive and disturbing. Famous authors of this literary movement were Nathaniel Hawthorne who wrote The Scarlet letter and Herman Melville who wrote Moby

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