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Tuesday, April 5

Tuesday, April 5

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Tuesday, April 5

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  1. Tuesday, April 5 • Short notes on Transcendentalism • Overview and summary of “The American Scholar” by Emerson • Discussion questions • Group discussion • No homework

  2. Romanticism Transcendentalism • Transcendental movement may be described as a slightly later, American outgrowth of romanticism. • Rooted in Kant’s belief that “all knowledge is transcendental which is concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects” • Romanticism  feeling, individual perception • German idealism and optimism • Hindu thought

  3. Emerson’s Definition Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (1836) "Standing on the bare ground,--my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,--all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God" (996).

  4. Transcendentalism – 1835ish to 1850ish • Belief in an ideal spiritually that “transcends” the physical and is realized through the individual’s intuition. • Search for truth.

  5. Transcendental Club • The club was a meeting-place for these young thinkers and an organizing ground for their idealist frustration with the general state of American culture and society at the time. • Transcendentalism's “Flowers” • Utopianism • Socialism • Women’s rights • “free love” • Abolitionism • Environmentalism

  6. Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 • Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings • Civil Disobedience, an argument for individual resistance to civil government • "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government” • “That government is best which governs not at all;' and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

  7. Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882 • Champion of individualism. • Emerson wrote on a number of subjects, developing certain ideas such as individuality, freedom, the ability for man to realize almost anything, and the relationship between the soul and the surrounding world. • Philosophy of Transcendentalism discussed in his 1836 essay, Nature. • A year later, on August 31, 1837, Emerson delivered his now-famous Phi Beta Kappa address, "The American Scholar”.

  8. “The American Scholar” • At the time, women were barred from higher education, and scholarship was reserved exclusively for men. • America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence”. • Emerson urged Americans to create a writing style all their own and free from Europe. • A student at Harvard called it, "an event without former parallel”. • Another member of the audience, Reverend John Pierce, called it "an apparently incoherent and unintelligible address”.

  9. “The American Scholar” 1837 • The text begins with an introduction (paragraphs 1-6) in which Emerson explains that his intent is to explore the scholar as one function of the whole human being: The scholar is "Man Thinking." • The remainder of the essay is organized into four sections: • The influence of nature (paragraphs 7 and 8) • The influence of the past and books (paragraphs 9 -18) • The influence of action on the education of the thinking man (paragraphs 19-27) • In the last section (paragraphs 28-41), Emerson considers the duties of the scholar and then discusses his views of America in his own time.

  10. Number the paragraphs of the essay 1-41 • Page 1 -1 to 6 • Page 2 – 6 to 11 • Page 3 – 11 to 16 • Page 4 – 16 to 21 • Page 5 – 21 to 27 • Page 6 – 27 to 29 • Page 7 – 30 to 33 • Page 8 – 33 to 99 • Page 9 – 40 and 41

  11. Discussion Activity • I will assign you an example of Transcendentalism to focus on (from the chart handout). • Find quotes and examples and provide explanations. • After you have finished step 1, answer the questions on the handout. • Cite examples using page and paragraph # • Turn in one handout per group (make sure all group member names are on it). Please get into groups of 3 – 4.

  12. Discussion of “The American Scholar” • You will lead the discussion for your group’s assigned questions. • Everyone should participate in the discussion, even if it’s not your group’s assigned question.