American Transcendentalism

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nature & The American Scholar
Led to Transcendentalist movement of the mid 19th century
philosophy of transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature
Speech entitled ‘The American Scholar’ in 1837 considered to be America’s ‘Intellectual Declaration of Independence’
periodic gatherings of other like-minded intellectuals. this was the beginning of the transcendental club, which served as a center for the movement

Henry David Thoreau
Walden & Civil Disobedience
A leading transcendentalist best known for his book Walden,a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings
essay ‘Resistance to Civil Government’—Civil Disobedience, an argument for disobedience to an unjust state
i went to the woods because i wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if i could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when i came to die, discover that i had not lived
influenced Ghandi/King

Amos Bronson Alcott
Conversations with Children On the Gospels & Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher and seer: an estimate of his character and genius in prose and verse
Pioneered new ways of interacting with young students, focusing on a conversational style, and avoided traditional punishment
founded Fruitlands, a transcendentalist experiment in community living
advocated a vegan diet before the term was coined. he was aso an abolitionist and an advocate for women’s rights
founded the concord school of philosophy

John Greenleaf Whittier
Snowbound & Barbara Frietchie
Influential American Quaker Poet and Ardent advocate of the abolition of slavery in the US
founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society-signed the anti-slavery declaration of 1833, which he often considered the most significant action of his life
said things through his writings that common men were afraid to say

Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass & Drum Taps
Among the most influential poets in the american canon, often called the father of free verse
his work was very controversial in its time
volunteer nurse during the american civil war
leaves of grass strongest praise from ralph waldo emerson, who wrote a flattering five-page letter to whitman and spoke highly of the book to friends

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Paul Revere’s Ride & Evangeline
spent several years translating dante alighieri’s divine comedy
his poetry imparts cultural and moral values, particularly focused on promoting life as being more than material pursuits
called for the development of high quality american literature
his works helped shape the american character and its legacy

Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Scarlet Letter & The Blithedale Romance
his ancestors include john hathorne, the only judge involved in the salem witch trials who never repented of his actions. Nathaniel later added a ‘W’ to make his name “Hawthorne” in order to hide this relation
much of Hawthorne’s writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a puritan inspiration
his fiction works are considered part of the romantic movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism–tales that suggest that guilt, sin, and evil are the most inherent natural qualities of humanity
his later writings also reflect his negative view of the transcendentalist movement

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Rime of the Ancient Mariner & Kubla Khan
English poet, literary critic and philosopher
founder of the romantic movement in england and a member of the lake poets
major influence on emerson and american transcendentalism
focus on nature and unity of emotion

Edgar Allen Poe
Never Bet The Devil Your Head & The Raven
American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the american romantic movement
one of the earliest american practitioners of the short story, generally considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre
as a literary critic his favorite target was longfellow
many of his works are generally considered part of the dark romanticism genre, a literary reaction to transcendentalism which poe strongly dislike he referred to followers of the latter movement as ‘frog-pondians’, after the pond on boston common

Louisa May Alcott
Little Women Little Men
raised by her transcendentalist parents, in New England
grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as ralph waldo emerson, nathaniel hawthorne, and henry david thoreau
major novel set in the alcott family home, orchard house, in concord, MA and is loosely based on Alcott’s childhood experiences with her three sisters
served as a civil war nurse in the union hospital at georgetown, for six weeks in 1862-1863. her letters home–revised and published in the commonwealth as collected hospital sketches

Herman Melville
Moby Dick & Typee
explored literature and philosophy, and the contradictions of american society in a period of rapid change
he established a profound but short-lived friendship with nathaniel hawthorne
i had a difficult literary life in that my books and poetry were not well received by the public during my lifetime

Emily Dickinson
Because I could not stop for death & Hope is the thing with feathers
American poet born in Amherst, MA she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life
she had a fascination with death, immortality and emotions-used as themes in her poetry
most of her poetry was not published during her lifetime-later published with heavy editing

William Ellery Channing
Baltimore Serman & Likeness to God
Channing’s religion and thought were among the chief influenced on the new england transcendentalists
he never subscribed to their views. which he saw as extreme

Margaret Fuller
Woman in the 19th century & Summer on the Lakes
First editor of the transcendentalist journal – the dial
fuller had earned a reputation as a best-read person in new england
advocate of women’s rights and education and the right to employment
first major feminist

William Wordsworth
Lyrical Ballads & The Prelude
Major english romantic poet who , helped to launch the romantic age in english literature
produced lyrical ballads-an important work in the english romantic movement
known for his ideas regarding the relation between the human mind and nature

Frederic Henry Hedge
A mighty fortress is our God & Coleridge’s literary character
new england unitarian minister
founder of the transcendental club or hedges club
significant as a foremost translator of german literature into english for academic scholarship
translated martin luther’s ‘a mighty fortress is our God’ from german into english

George Ripley
The New American Cyclopaedia & An Influential Critical Review of origin of the species
American social reformer and unitarian minister
transcendental journalist and influential critic
founded brook farm–a failed attempt at forming a utopian community managing editor of the dial

Orestos Brownson
The Laboring Classes & Charles Elwood; or, the infidel converted
New England intellectual and preacher
founded his own church in 1836– the society for christian union and progress
founded his own magazine–the boston quarterly review
eventually renounces transcendentalism and converts to roman catholicism

James Freeman Clark
Ten Great Religions & Events and Epochs in religious history
unitarian minister and abolitionist
established his own church of the disciples in Boston
secretary of the unitarian association and a prof. of natural religion and christian doctrine at harvard
purchased brook farm from george ripley in order to begin a utopian community
started the western messenger along with the ephraim peabody in 1836 as a unitarian minister

Elizabeth Peabody
Lotus Sutra, a french language version of a buddhist poem translated into english and the moral culture of infancy and kindergarten guide
American educator who opened the first english kindergarten in US
translator of first english version of a buddhist scripture
opened west street bookstore in boston
margaret fuller’s influential conversations were held in peabody’s bookstore
business manager of the main transcendentalist publication the dial
buried in sleepy hollow cemetery