Is this the best selection from Emerson for a high school or college student? Like many thinkers, Emerson's thought evolved through his lifetime. He later came to value social reform movements and group action more than he did in his early life.
Margaret Fuller was the daughter of a Massachusetts congressman whoprovided tutors for her in Latin, Greek, chemistry, philosophy and,later, German. Exercising what Barbara Packer calls “her peculiarpowers of intrusion and caress” (P, 443), Fuller became friends withmany of the transcendentalists, including Emerson. She organized aseries of popular “conversations” for women in Boston in the winters of1839–44, journeyed to the Midwest in the summer of 1843, and publishedher observations as Summer on the Lakes. After this publishingsuccess, Horace Greeley, a friend of Emerson's and the editor of theNew York Tribune, invited her to New York to write for theTribune. Fuller abandoned her previously ornate andpretentious style, issuing pithy reviews and forthright criticisms:for example, of Longfellow's poetry and Carlyle's attraction tobrutality. Fuller was in Europe from 1846–9, sending backhundreds of pages for the Tribune. On her return to Americawith her husband and son, she drowned in a hurricane off the coast ofFire Island, New York.
It began as a squabble in the Unitarian church when intellectuals began questioning and reacting against many of the church’s orthodoxy ways regarding all of the aforementioned subjects: religion, culture, literature, social reform, and philosophy.
"Circles" is an essay by , first published in 1841. The essay consists of a philosophical view of the vast array of circles one may find throughout nature. In the opening line of the essay Emerson states "The eye is the first circle; the horizon which it forms is the second; and throughout nature this primary figure is repeated without end".
To truly understand the implications of Transcendentalism and why Transcendentalists believed what they did, one must first look at the root of Transcendentalism, Unitarianism....
Ralph Waldo Emerson was known first as an orator. Emerson converted many of his orations in to essays. A student of Emerson's essays will also want to study Emerson's since he often worked out in his journal entries ideas that later appear in his orations and essays.
In this respect, Norman MacLean’s “A River Runs Through It” basically supports the position of Jack London. MacLean also tends to show the supremacy of American Transcendentalism and its idealism over severe pragmatism of literary naturalism. The main characters of his short story, Norman and Paul, represent the controversy of literary naturalism and American Transcendentalism respectively. Norman pursues material, mercantile goals, while Paul lives in harmony and balance with nature, being devoted to transcendentalist ideals. Remarkably, Norman’s pragmatism and concern with material values, such as social success, are eventually devaluated by Paul’s idyll life into the wild, which make Norman admired.
Even more idealistic are works created by Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. Robert Frost apparently stands on the idealistic transcendentalist grounds and his depiction of the rural life illustrates the poet’s strife for ideal, spiritual harmony of man and nature. Similarly, Walt Whitman also admires nature and idealistically views the role of man in it. At the same time, he does not reject naturalistic views concerning the importance of reason and mind in human life. In such a way, Whitman combines American Transcendentalism and its ideals with literary naturalism and its focus on the significant role of reason and human mind.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophicalmovement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph WaldoEmerson. Other important transcendentalists were Henry David Thoreau,Margaret Fuller, Amos Bronson Alcott, Frederic Henry Hedge, andTheodore Parker. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism, theBiblical criticism of Herder and Schleiermacher, and the skepticism ofHume, the transcendentalists operated with the sense that a new era wasat hand. They were critics of their contemporary society for itsunthinking conformity, and urged that each person find, inEmerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” (O, 3). Emersonand Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and intheir writing. By the 1840s they, along with other transcendentalists,were engaged in the social experiments of Brook Farm, Fruitlands, andWalden; and, by the 1850s in an increasingly urgent critique ofAmerican slavery.
Henry David Thoreau also can hardly keep from promoting American Transcendentalist ideals emphasizing the importance of the individual liberty, autonomy, natural rights, etc. At the same time, he complements his transcendentalist views with some naturalist ideas, especially those which refer to the struggle of people against the violation of their rights and overwhelming power of the state. For instance, he appeals to active social actions against any limitations or violation of basic human rights and liberties. In such a way, Thoreau attempts to achieve American Transcendentalist ideals of happy, harmonious life of people by means of application of materialistic, naturalist methods of struggle for fundamental, spiritual ideals of American Transcendentalism.
is the Top Dog of Transcendentalism. The Godfather. The Big Cheese. The biggest, oldest, most huggable tree in the forest, if you're starting to think like a Transcendentalist. The whole movement got going largely because of his efforts. He was the son of a Unitarian minister who himself became ordained as a Unitarian minister, until he got disgruntled with Unitarianism.
However, in spite of strong naturalist trends, Jack London is not an absolute adept of literary naturalism since the protagonist of the novel, Humphrey Van Weyden, in contrast to Wolf Larsen, personifies humanistic ideas and transcendentalist idealism. The controversy of his relationship with the convinced naturalist Larsen reveals the controversy and tension between naturalism and American Transcendentalism. On the one hand, the philosophy of Wolf Larsen sounds quite convincing, but the writer through its main character, Humphrey, cannot accept this philosophy and returns to ideals of American Transcendentalism, to the domination of spiritual world, human intuition over human mind and materialism since Humphrey cannot change Larsen’s mind and his beliefs, but, still, intuitively, Humphrey feels his righteousness. At this point, American Transcendentalism, valuating human intuition and spiritual world higher than any material values which dominated in American culture comes into conflict with literary naturalism which, in contrast, focused on the material world and material values.