Compare And Contrast Individualism And Transcendentalism
This was the idea that humans could transcend reality and physicality to attain intuition. Transcendentalists rejected organized movements because it might hinder their individual freedom (Divine et al. 310). Critics outside the movement described it as "sentimental and unrealistic," a description that probably did not offend the transcendentalists as much as the critics aimed to (Divine et al. 501). One transcendentalistic antebellum poet, Walt Whitman, is regarded by many to be one of the greatest writers the United States ever produced because he led an American literary revolution that established a unique literary form that broke from that which the Americans inherited from their European ancestors (Bloom 15). Whitman rejected the traditional rhyme and meter, opting for free verse instead (Puchner 1020). Whitman astonishingly made free verse seem natural as he walked the line between poetry and prose (Killingsworth 27). While some viewed Whitman as "affirmative, inclusive, energetic, defiant, and radically experimental" (Puchner 1020), others described him as "untranslatable, barbaric, and undisciplined"