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Transcendentalism in Literature - Research Paper Example

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From the paper "Transcendentalism in Literature" it is clear that Porte described Transcendentalist literature as one which relies heavily on the use of typical figures and on a dream,  fantasy, parable or symbol in their exploration of usually large questions pertaining to art, history, and race…
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Transcendentalism in Literature
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Download file to see previous pages The movement was borne out of reactions against the Calvinist orthodoxy of a small group of scholars who later established their faith focused on the divinity of man and nature. Transcendentalists believe that human intuition is the ultimate source of knowledge, and along with it emphasizing individualism, self-reliance and rejection of traditional authority (“Transcendentalism” para. 1). From a movement searching for renewed spiritual and intellectual vigour, Transcendentalism wielded a significant influence on American literature not only among the transcendentalist group but among other literary groups (“Transcendentalism” para. 2).
There is a common tendency to include Transcendentalism under the wings of American Romanticism, which pervaded Europe and the Americas during the nineteenth century. While the presence of an overlap may be true, there are a distinct group of writers representing Romanticism and Transcendentalism (Tanner 666). Aside from Emerson, the other transcendentalist writers are Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, Elizabeth Peabody, Margaret Fuller Jones, and Theodore Parker. In a way, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, and Walt Whitman also produced manifested transcendentalist influence in some of their works. On the other hand, famous Romanticists include Charles Brockden Brown, William Cullen Bryant, James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe (Tanner 666).
Porte (in Tanner 667) described Transcendentalist literature as one which relies heavily on the use of typical figures and on a dream, fantasy, parable or symbol in their exploration of usually large questions pertaining to art, history, human motivation, nature, and race. The following paragraphs discuss the influence of Transcendentalism on the selected literary works during the period.
Emerson’s 1836 essay Nature is generally hailed as the “gospel” of Transcendentalism in America. Influence of Transcendental philosophy may be noted as Emerson prodded the reader to “enjoy an original relation to the universe”, instead of relying on past experiences and on sacred books, principles, and doctrine which is the main argument of the essay ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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