Transcendentalism : A Philosophical And Literary Movement

1725 Words Mar 21st, 2016 7 Pages
Transcendentalism was a philosophical and literary movement that started in the mid 19th Century in the U.S.A as a reaction against the dogma and industrialization of the time, placing individualism and self-reliance above the views of social institutions and the government. It was also, in part, an attempt at creating a uniquely American literature style completely different to the established English/European styles used in the past. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a highly influential writer that led the transcendentalist movement, he was primarily concerned with individualism and in each person following their unique instincts and ideas. Another notable writer of this period is Henry David Thoreau, a transcendentalist author that believed in standing behind what you feel is right, despite the contradictions of the State or Government. Walt Whitman was another writer that had a profound influence on the transcendentalist movement, he was a poet that went against what people viewed as the typical format and rules for poetry and instead focused on what he wanted his poetry to be and how he thought it should be written. These radical free thinkers developed ideas and morals about society and the individual that, at the time, were viewed as “uncivilized free and wild thinking” (Thoreau, Henry. Walking) and which have influenced the development of America.
“Uncivilized free and wild thinking” is a term created by Thoreau in his essay ‘Walking’, at the time when his essay was…
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