The Age of Renaissance (1840-1860)

à  Distinct period of the ______- represented a ‘______’ / ‘coming of age’

à  Illustrated By: / à  American writers finding their own ______
à  American writers moving away from English ______and ______

à  Represented 1st time in American history that American ______was truly ______

à  Literature was marked by American ______and ______

à  Main Authors: / à  Nathaniel Hawthorne
à  Herman Melville / à  Ralph Waldo Emerson
à  Henry David Thoreau

The Transcendentalists

______- An attitude or belief contradicting industrialism, growth, and conformity.

à  At this time in history:

§  Shift from ______to ______

§  Shift from ______life to ______life

§  ______replaced skilled workers

§  ______hired to run machines and perform unskilled labor tasks in horrible conditions


§  ______this form of thought- were looking to create a better ______

§  Believed ______was not in ______, ______, or ______, but in

______, the ______, and the ______

§  Wanted to go “______/ ______” the physical world in order to find ______(non-conformists)

A Transcendental View of the World

1)  Everything in the ______- including humans- is a reflection of ______

2) ______, ______, and ______are all connected

3)  People are inherently ______- they should always follow their ______

4)  Personal ______can reveal God’s spirit in ______and the ______- thus, ______is attainable

5)  ______and ______outweigh ______and blind ______

6)  Spontaneous ______and ______are superior to ______and ______

7)  The ‘______’ is the doorway to the ______/______world.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (______-______)

à  A ‘Rare’ ______

§  Appealed to the ______with his ______and ______

§  Appealed to the ______with his philosophical ideas concerning ______, ______, and ______

§  Appealed to the ‘overall’ ______with his ______

à  The ‘Quotable’ Emerson

§  ______is quoted more times than any figure in history

§  Only once source with more quotes- the ______

à  Why So Quotable and Read So Often?

§  Represents the person ______

§  He represents that person who has______, ______, and ______his place on earth.

§  Loves ______he is; ______he is; Emerson possesses ______

This was not, however, always so…

à  Born (1803) into a cultured family of ______in Boston; his life was ______- he was to be a ______

à  Attended ______; age ______accepted his first ministry post

à  Spontaneously left ministry at age ______after his ______

à  ______led him to Europe where he was influenced by the ______writers

à  In ______returned to US- possessed a new ______and ______on life

§  Helped pioneer ______Movement

à  Was, first and foremost, a ______and ______

à  Realized the ______of transcendentalism in a civilized, conforming ______.

Literary Focus- Aphorism and Motto

Aphorism: ______

A motto captures an individual’s attitude toward life in one pithy phrase. What is your motto?

APHORISMS- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Read each of Emerson’s aphorisms below. Explain what each phrase means (paraphrase) and determine which ‘Transcendental Belief’ it represents (see page 2- ‘A Transcendental View of the World’). Be prepared to discuss.

1. / “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself; nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
2. / “The high prize in life, the crowning fortune of man is to be born with a bias to some pursuit which finds him
in employment and happiness.”
3. / “Accept the place divine Providence has found for you.”
4. / “Trust the instinct to the end, though you can render no reason.”
5. / “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
6. / “Self-trust is the first secret to success.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson- from Self-Reliance

1.  In reference to lines 1-11, answer the following questions:

·  How does Emerson feel about envy and imitation?

·  What does Emerson believe people must do in order to receive their share of the world’s “goodness”- their “nourishing corn”?

·  According to Emerson, why should people trust themselves?

2.  Summarize (in your own words) the ideas Emerson presents in lines 1-11. After reading/understanding these lines, how would you define “self-reliance”?

3.  In reference to “non-conformity” a “knowing the integrity of your own mind”, explain the conversation between the young Emerson and his “valued advisor”.

4.  Transcendentalists believed in disregarding external authority in favor of one’s own experience and intuition. What is implied by the word ‘sacred’ in line 21?

5.  (Lines 24-30)- In terms of “great men”, what does one need in order to achieve greatness instead of mediocrity (meaness)?

6.  (Lines 37-48)- According to Emerson, why are people afraid of being inconsistent? Who feels that consistency in important? What does he mean when he states, “With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”

7.  Summarize the following lines: “Speak what you think in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today- ‘Ah so you shall be sure to be misunderstood’-…To be great is to be misunderstood.”

8.  Identify at least one aphorism in lines 40-48. How does that aphorism reflect Emerson’s transcendentalist ideals?

Ralph Waldo Emerson- from Nature

Emerson was exhilarated by nature’s beauty and tranquillity. Through nature he believed he was in tune with his better self and in harmony with external things. In from Nature, Emerson attempts to explain the importance of a person’s “original relation to the universe” and how they can “find themselves” in nature. Despite Emerson’s assertion that “few adult persons can see nature” and that most people only see nature “superficially”, he believes that this feat can be achieved. Emerson achieves this result in from Nature by showing us scenes of nature that he loves rather than simply telling us his feelings in general.

1.  In reference to lines 1-4, Emerson states, “I have enjoyed a perfect exhilaration” without experiencing any ‘special good fortune’. What does he mean? How can this be?

2.  What does Emerson mean when he states that the woods possess “perpetual youth” and that in the woods we can return to “reason and faith”.

3.  Difficult Question- Explain the “transparent eye-ball” metaphor.

4.  What aspect of Transcendentalism is reflected in lines 12-19?

5.  In reference to lines 20-27, answer the following questions:

·  According to Emerson, what is the “greatest delight” that nature provides?

·  What effect does nature have on Emerson?

·  Why do we as people in general delight in nature?

6.  What is Emerson saying about our perception of the natural world (lines 30-34)?


o  Non-conformist / o  aversion / o  occult
o  importune / o  decorum / o  exhilaration