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Romanticism and Transcendentalism

Romanticism and Transcendentalism are two great forms of art that greatly contribute to literature and make it what it is today. In this paper I will show you why I believe that by telling you what both romanticism and transcendentalism are and also how

romanticism greatly impact transcendentalism.

Romanticism is a literary, artistic, and philosophical movement that began in Europe it shaped all the arts in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In a general sense, romanticism refers to several distinct groups of artists, poets, writers, and musicians as well as political, philosophical and social thinkers and trends of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Europe. Romanticism generally stressed the essential goodness of human beings. In its intense focus on the individual consciousness, it was both a continuation of and a reaction against the Enlightenment. (Romanticism)

Romanticism did emphasize the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental. (Britannica)
Romantic literature displayed a number of recurrent motifs: the theme of the individual in rebellion; the symbolic interpretation of the historic past; subjects from myth and folklore; the glorification of nature; faraway settings; sentimentalism; the nobility of the uncivilized man (the Native American, for example); admiration for the simple life; the elevation of the common man; a fascination with Gothic themes, with the supernatural and mysterious, with introspection, melancholy, and horror; and a humanitarian political and social outlook. The romantic impulse played a major role in the mid-nineteenth century blossoming of American literature and art that has been called the American Renaissance. (Cliff notes)

Many depict this capacity for human growth as the triumph of the intuitive over the methodical and rational. Some suppose that individual self-culture will lead to social progress, even political revolution. (Romanticism)

There were many great romantic writers on is the very well known Edgar Allan Poe who is best known as a literary figure, a writer of short stories and poetry. A surprising amount of his thought was devoted to natural science, with which he seems to have had a love-hate relationship. Poe often regarded himself as a paragon of rational thought but he seems to have held a characteristically romantic view of rationality, seeking to apply an artistic esthetic as the ultimate criterion for “scientific” truth. He was very well known and did many great works such as “The Raven” “The Fall of the House of Usher” and many more. He is known world wide still today and is very influential he is one of the best if not the best romantic writer of any period. (Math pages)

Although another great write would be Emily Dickenson who was also a great romantic poet that wrote about love, death, and the human relationship with God and nature she helps show how romanticism can tie in with philosophy and religion. (Dickenson)
William Blake was probably the most singular of the English romantics. His poems and paintings are radiant, imaginative, and heavily symbolic, indicating the spiritual reality underlying the physical reality. (E-topic)

The works of James Fennimore Cooper reflected the romantic interest in the historical past, whereas the symbolic novels of Hawthorne and Melville emphasized the movement’s concern with transcendent reality. (Berklee)

The other form of art is “Transcendentalism which was an American literary and philosophical movement of the nineteenth century” (phl) founded in New England, which asserting the existence of an ideal spiritual reality that transcends the empirical and scientific and is knowable through intuition.
The founders of transcendentalism were Unitarian intellectuals and from them the transcendentalists took a concern for self-culture, a sense of moral seriousness, a neo-Platonic concept of piety, a tendency toward individualism, a belief in the importance of literature, and an interest in moral reform.

The transcendentalist’s idealistic system of thought is based on a belief in the essential unity of all creation, the innate goodness of humankind, and the supremacy of vision over logic and experience for the revelation of the deepest truths bound them all together. Transcendentalist writers and their contemporaries signaled the emergence of a new national culture based on native materials, and they were a major part of the American Renaissance in literature. They advocated reforms in church, state, and society, contributing to the rise of free religion and the abolition movement and to the formation of various utopian communities, such as Brook Farm. The transcendentalists became pioneers in the American study of comparative religion. (Transcendentalism)

The Transcendentalists also conveyed their philosophy, concerns, and creativity through shorter pieces printed in the periodical publications that were important to the intellectual life of the mid-nineteenth century. (Cliff notes)

Emerson was transcendentalism’s most philosophical writer and its greatest advocate for unification with the Universal Spirit or the One. (Romanticism) His poems, orations, and especially his essays, such as Nature, are regarded as landmarks in the development of American thought and literary expression. (Emerson)

Emerson became close friends with Margaret Fuller an author and revolutionist and introduced her to a wide circle of intellectuals, including the transcendentalists. Fuller’s argument that women had a universal sacred right to develop their individual natures stemmed from transcendental philosophy, but her radical call to collective action, her attack upon the sexual double standard, and her endorsement of women’s entrance into the public sphere earned her a feminist reputation. (Fuller)

Another woman who is related to transcendentalism is Elizabeth Peabody who opened the first kindergarten in the United States. Peabody was a teacher, writer, and prominent figure in the transcendental movement, editing The Dial, the chief literary publication of the movement, for two years. (Memory)

Romanticism greatly impacted transcendentalists. The Romantic Movement in Britain, Europe, and America provided the broad literary background for the rise of transcendentalism. (Cliff notes)

Emerson’s transcendentalism is in some ways an American offshoot of romanticism, but with a greater religious and philosophical emphasis that manifests itself in highly intellectual essays rather than spontaneous lyrics. (cwrl) American Romanticism was powerfully expressed with the anonymous publication of Emerson’s Nature. This manifesto of transcendentalism, based on earlier journal entries, sermons, and lectures, was soon followed by the important addresses “The American Scholar” and the “Divinity School Address”. (Cliff notes)
British Romantic authors William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Thomas Carlyle greatly influenced the New England transcendentalists by together writing Lyrical Ballads. In these poems, Wordsworth and Coleridge presented personal feeling, employed language that reflected the spoken rather than the stylized written word, and focused on both the supernatural and ordinary experience. (Cliff notes)

Romanticism in the form of transcendentalism was communicated foremost through the writings of the faithful. Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and others published lengthy works of a range of types on a variety of subjects, each in its own way an expression of romantic ideals. (Cliff Notes) Transcendental movement may be described as a slightly later, American outgrowth of romanticism. (Wikipedia)

You have now learned about romanticism and what it is and the impact it has in our culture along with what transcendentalism and the impact made but it as well. I also showed you the impact of romanticism on transcendentalism and how closely they are both related. I hope it was shown that romanticism and transcendentalism are two great forms of art that greatly contributed to literature and made it what it is today.