Transcendentalism

Transcendentalism

an idealistic philosophical and social movement that developed in New England around 1836 in reaction to rationalism. Influenced by romanticism, Platonism, and Kantian philosophy, it taught that divinity pervades all nature and humanity, and its members held progressive views on feminism and communal living. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were central figures.

What is the biggest idea to come out of the Utopia Movement?

In the same spirit as the other reform movements, more than 100,000 American men, women, and children between 1820 and 1860 searched for alternative lifestyles. They wanted to find a utopia, or an ideal society. Disenchanted with the world around them, utopian seekers hoped to create their perfect society by building experimental communities. Most of the communes had short lifespans, and the utopians performed their experiments in isolation from the rest of society, yet they all expressed the deep desire of perfectionism.

The Brook Farm community

Ripley's goals were a systematic statement of what all the transcendentalists had been looking for: individual freedom and humane relationships. Specifically, however, the transcendentalists sought harmony, the merging of values, ideas, and spiritual matters with physical events, the union of mind and body, spirit and flesh. At Brook Farm, and in other communities, physical labor is perceived as a condition of mental well-being and health. They believed that manual labor was uplifting, and thus, every member, even the writers and poets, spent at least a few hours a day in physical effort. Another expression of the connection of flesh and spirit is manifested through the abundance of physical tasks performed at Brook Farm. The members of Brook Farm believed that they could create a utopian microcosm of society that would eventually serve as a model for and inaugurate the social macrocosm.
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Transcendentalists authors

Ralph Waldo Emerson- He believed in individualism, non-conformity, and the need for harmony between man and nature.

' .... of Nature itself upon the soul; the sunrise, the haze of autumn, the winter starlight seem interlocutors; the prevailing sense is that of an exposition in poetry; a high discourse, the voice of the speaker seems to breathe as much from the landscape as from his own breast; it is Nature communing with the seer.'

Henry D. Thoreau- He wrote 'Walden, or Life in The Woods'.

'Thoreau’s importance as a philosophical writer was little appreciated during his lifetime, but his two most noted works,

Edgar Allen Poe- He wrote the The Raven

Poe focused his criticism on the specifics of style and construction that contributed to a work’s effectiveness or failure.