Unit III: American Classic, 1840-70
Week 8: Transcendentalism
- Unit 3, Introduction 199-203.
- Emerson 204-215.
- "Reading Essays and Speeches" p. 217.
- Thoreau p. 216-227
- Alcott 254-258
- Please also continue with Moby Dick through Ch. 108.
CONSIDER for discussion:
- How is transcendentalism related to romanticism (which most of you should remember from English II)? Recall some of the salient features of romanticism:
- A concern for the individual over the collective, for the aberrant over the normative;
- A high value placed on nature as opposed to civilization;
- Attention to substance over form;
- The elevation of the common man rather than preoccupation with the highly-placed;
- Cultural reference to the Middle Ages as opposed to Classical Antiquity.
- Emerson's "Self-reliance" is one of his best-known and most highly regarded essays. What do you think of his ideas? Can you square them with the rest of your own system of belief?
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