Transcendentalism Miss Piho English 11
What is Romanticism? • Romanticism is the name given to the schools of thought that value feeling and intuition over reason. Lasted in the U.S. from 1800-1860 (the Civil War began in 1861). • It developed in part as a reaction against Rationalism. The Industrial Revolution created dirty cities and wretched working conditions; people wanted to escape from progress and Romanticism allowed them to do that. • Romantics believed that the imagination was able to discover truths that the rational mind could not reach.
The American Version of Romanticism • The Transcendentalists • Transcendentalism refers to the idea that in determining the ultimate reality of God, the universe, the self, and other important matters, one must transcend or go beyond everyday human experiences in the physical world.
A Transcendental View of the World • Values feeling and intuition over reason. • Places faith in inner experience and the power of imagination. • Shuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled nature. • Champions individual freedom and the worth of the individual. • Reflects on nature’s beauty as a path to spiritual and moral development. • Looks backward to the wisdom of the past and distrusts progress.
Transcendentalism Continued… • Finds beauty and truth in exotic locales, the supernatural realm, and the inner world of the imagination. • Sees poetry as the highest expression of the imagination.
6 I’s of Transcendentalsim • Intuition: Conscience, something you know; following this will lead you to the truth. • Imagination: Using your ability to think outside the box • Innocence: Admiration for young children because they see the world through pure and fresh eyes (not corrupted or spoiled). Children don’t need to know “why”, they just accept things for what they are. • Inspiration from Nature: Closer connection to God in nature. You can see God in all natural objects. • Inner Experience: Going out to nature and trying to connect with God. No one needs a middle man to have a conversation with The Divine Spirit • Individualism: Self-reliance must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to custom and tradition.
Romantic Poetry • In a typical Romantic poem, the speaker sees an ordinary object or scene. • Ex. A flower found by a stream or a bird flying overhead brings the speaker to some important, deeply felt insight, which is then recorded in the poem. • Similar to Puritans but Puritans found their God in the Bible. Romantics found a less clearly defined divinity in nature. Their contemplation of the natural world led to a more generalized emotional and intellectual awakening.
Emerson • He believed that God works through nature; therefore, even the natural events that seem most tragic-disease, death, disaster-can be explained on a spiritual level. Death is simply a part of the cycle of life. • According to Emerson, we are capable of evil because we are separated from a direct, intuitive knowledge of God, but if we simply trust ourselves, that is, trust in the power each of us has to know God directly-then we will realize that each of us is also a part of the Divine Soul, the source of all good.
Revisit one of the following pictures from the perspective of a Transcendentalist.
The Dark Romantics • The Dark Romantics didn’t necessarily disagree with Emerson, but they felt he ignored the idea of evil. • Dark Romantics wanted to focus on the balance of good and evil and address the innate wickedness of human beings. • They explored the conflict between good and evil, the psychological effects of guilt and sin, and even madness in the human psyche.
Transcendentalism Quiz • 1. What was the time period that the Romantic period started and ended in? • 2. Explain why and how Romanticism developed. • 3. Romanticism values _________ & _______ over reason and logic. • 4. What places did Romantics often visit AND what did they hope to achieve while they were there? • 5. What is the highest form of expression for a Romantic? What is this writing form often about? • 6. List AND explain the 5 I’s of Romanticism.