Transcendentalism in Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson's Literature

Transcendentalism in Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson's Literature

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“If a person wished to know what transcendentalism was he should empty his mind of everything coming from tradition and the rest would be transcendentalism” (Boller 34). This literary period has dramatically shaped literature and religion, in America. Many writers like Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson have been influence by transcendental ideas. It is astonishing how an inspiring literature movement can change so much of the world’s view and still is around today.
Transcendentalism was an American literature movement urging people to look past everyday material life, and reach into their souls to find inner peace with themselves. Transcendentalism originally came from Kantian idealism. This idealism was credited by Immanuel Kant. Kant was a German philosopher, born in Konigsberg, in 1724 (Scruton 1). “Kant was regarded by his immediate successors as having irreversibly changed the course of philosophy” (Scruton 92). He made an argument referred to as the Transcendental Deduction. Out of the argument a theory was formed called Transcendental Idealism (Scruton 23). American Transcendentalists were all aware, in some form, of Kantian idealism. Kant wrote two treatises, Critique of Pure Reason (1781) and Critique of Practical Reason (1788); both discussed his ideas behind his theory (Boller 37). Most transcendentalist learned about Kant’s theory, by a romantic poet named Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Boller 44).
The American Transcendental movement of new ideas began, as a rebellion within the Unitarian Church, in the Boston area, in the nine-tenth century around 1830 and continued all the way up to the civil war (Boller 1). One man that is considered to be a notable leader in the Transcendental Movement is Ralph Waldo Emerson. H...


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Scruton, Roger. Kant. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 1982. Print.
McElrath, Joseph R., G. K. Carey, and James Lamar Roberts. Walden: Notes. Lincoln, Neb:
Cliff's Notes, 1971. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 4 Feb. 2014
Rusk, Ralph L. 1888-. The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson. New York: Columbia University
Press, 1957. Print.
Smith, Harmon L. My Friend, My Friend: The Story Of Thoreau's Relationship With Emerson.
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"Transcendental Legacy--Emily Dickinson." Transcendental Legacy--Emily Dickinson. NA, NA.Web. 11 Feb. 2014. roots/legacy/dickinson/index.html>.
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