The Philosophy of Transcendentalism Essay

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Transcendentalism was a philosophy that became influential during the 1800's. It was based on the belief that knowledge is not limited to and solely derived from experience and observation but from the truths seem through reason. In the United Sates, transcendentalism became both a philosophy and a literary, religious, and social movement. Emphasis was placed mainly on oneness with nature and God while making the possibility of social change a reality. Ralph Waldo Emerson was the leading American transcendentalist whose theories were a primary influence in transcendentalist thought and writing. Through the knowledge and direction of Ralph Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau also became leading scholars of their time by…show more content…
“Nothing is possible within our distinctively human world without creative insight and interpretation. His attention to what it means to make something new and his concern about the influence of the past, of books and monuments, mark him as an important figure in the production of a national literature” (Carr, 10). The Over-soul is the philosophy that the nature in which we reside creates our world in depth by means of our insight and interpretations. Emerson's emphasis on nonconformity and integrity shows that the Over-soul creates a world through individuals; a thought that is similar to the romantic nationalism of nineteenth century Europe. “Emerson provides a framework for flexible relations to the world around us. American romantics, like their British and European predecessors, sought to revitalize the concepts of self, nature, and society in a climate of intellectual skepticism” (Allison, 1). Through British critical theory, Emerson asserts the miracle of nature perceived through symbols and supernaturalism. His theories profoundly influenced those of his successors and all subsequent American writing. “From his moment to ours, American authors either are in his tradition, or else in a counter tradition—originating to oppose him” (Bloom, 67). Through his extensive writings of books, essays and poetry, Henry David Thoreau gave the American public a deep insight to the new world of
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