Marriam-Webster defines transcendentalism as “a philosophy that emphasizes the a priori conditions of knowledge and experience or the unknowable character of ultimate reality or that emphasizes the transcendent as the fundamental reality.” Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are known has transcendentalists of the 19th century. Ann Woodlief author of Emerson and Thoreau as American Prophets of Eco-wisdom, Martin Bickman author of Thoreau and the Tradition of the Active Mind, and Sheri Gietzen author of Transcendence: The Yin and Yang of Emerson and Goethe look into the depths of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works and philosophies and how their works contain aspects of transcendentalism. Thoreau and Emerson both share their ideas and philosophies about living through experiences which ultimately creates a person’s character and personality. Throughout the works of both authors, Emerson and Thoreau, they have commonalities that connect to the term transcendentalism in many ways. Authors Woodleif, Bickman, and Gietzen connect Emerson’s and Thoreau’s works and critique them and their philosophical beliefs through the common existence amongst nature.
In Ralph Waldo Emerson’s book Nature¸ he believes that Nature is what the world and the mind rely on to educate itself. Gietzen wrote, “Emerson insists that humankind is the redeemer; the essence of virtue and truth is within the soul, and the individual is able to press forward against Chaos and Darkness, attaining transcendence and harmony” (Gietzen). He wrote how beauty, language, and spirit (to name a few) were all connected to one entity, nature. His book can be compared to a flower. Each peta...
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... works associate with transcendental philosophical approaches to how to live through self and how that is dependent on nature and the experiences within. The critics mentioned above all put insight on how the works of Emerson and Thoreau connected to definition of transcendentalism through evidence and quotes written by them about their philosophies. The connection to the experience and philosophy the two authors have creates news way of thinking, self-trust, and solitude within a person’s mind and body. Without the experiences and knowledge that nature offered Emerson and Thoreau, these philosophies created would not exist to inspire their readers and future educators of the world. They both opened their minds to the possibilities that the world and nature offered them and this is knowledge, and an unforgettable experience that will forever exist to all human kind.
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