Henry David Thoreau And Romanticism

Better Essays
Henry David Thoreau Henry David Thoreau’s words that “disobedience is the true foundation of liberty” and that “the obedient must be slaves” is a political statement that never lost its topicality during the Romantic era. Thoreau is an important contributor to the philosophical and American literary movement known as New England Transcendentalism. Nature and the conduct of life are two central themes that are often weaved together in his essays and books that were published in the Romantic era of literature. Thoreau brought these two themes together to write on how people ought to live a simplistic life. His naturalistic writing intertwined cataloging and observation with Transcendentalist views of nature. Through his life and his work, Henry David Thoreau has contributed to American Literature since the Romantic era. The Romantic era began in 1770, with its peak being from 1800 to 1850. With emphasis on the imagination and emotion, Romanticism emerged as a result of the Enlightenment period, which heavily placed values upon reason and order. Thus, Romanticism depends heavily on “the practical accomplishments of the prior un-Romantic era— a relationship between material wealth and scientific knowledge on one hand, and personal, spiritual, or emotional transcendence on the other, that twenty-first century Americans continue to manage.” The simplest explanation for what is Romantic is “‘anything but the here and now’ or whatever is not realistic” (“Romanticism”). The
Get Access