Essay about Transcendentalism in Literature

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The New England Renaissance brought out two distinct, yet influential movements known as transcendentalism and anti-transcendentalism. The two concentrated on intuition and human nature and formed a revolt against previously accepted ideas such as Calvinist orthodoxy, strict Puritan attitudes, ritualism, and the dogmatic theology of religious institutions. Transcendentalism is a term rooted back to Plato, a Greek philosopher who first affirmed the existence of absolute goodness, which he characterized as beyond something of description and as knowable only through intuition. He laid the tracks down for others to build off of. The Scholastic philosophers were the first to add to Plato's theory during the middle ages. They came up…show more content…
The belief that basic truths of the universe lied beyond our senses was one such belief. Others included the fact that we know, through intuition, that reality lies beyond the physical world, and that everything is symbolic in spirit, making mature the place to find oneself. The groundwork for these beliefs and views can be seen in Deism (with the opposition of Calvinist orthodoxy) and in Romanticism (self-examination and individualism). As stated above, several authors led the transcendental movement, but none were as influential as Emerson and Thoreau. They are the writers that you hear about in all the definitions of transcendentalism and in the flowering of New England. Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, philosopher, and poet. He was born on May 25, 1803 and died on April 27, 1882. He graduated from Harvard in 1821 and was the youngest member of his freshmen class there at the age of 14. IN 1829, he was ordained as a Unitarian minister, and left three years later because of his differences with the religion. After traveling in Europe he published Nature, an outline of his transcendental views, in 1836. A major accomplishment of his life was the publishing of his two series of Essays, which the world-renowned Self-Reliance essay was published in 1841. "...That imitation is suicide" is a quote from Self-Reliance that shows the
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