Transcendentalism and Other Views of Nature in Nineteenth-Century America

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The American transcendentalists, in particular, found sympathetic ideals in such mystical philosophies as Neoplatonism, and in the religions of East Asia, introduced into the Boston area in the early nineteenth century. From Hinduism and Buddhism, they adopted a holistic philosophy based in pantheism and in the ideal of a ‘universal brotherhood’ shared by humanity, nature, and God.

Ralph Waldo Emerson had great admiration for Asian philosophy, and Hinduism in particular, derived from his familiarity with the sacred Hindu texts, the Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita.The same spirit of naturalism led many Romantics to idealize Native American culture. Historians who observed this culture, such as George Catlin, popularized the image of Native Americans as people who deeply respected nature and the natural world. Harmony with nature and its living creatures was central to Native American culture, which looked upon living things—plants, animals, and human beings—as sacred parts of an all-embracing, spiritually charged environment. The Native American spirit wasReacting against the material excesses of advancing industrialization, they found sympathetic ideals in such mystical philosophies as Neoplatonism, and in the religions of East Asia.

The giants of transcendentalism were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Emerson is perhaps best known for his essays, especially those on the virtues of self-reliance appreciation of Asian philosophy, including the Bhagavad-Gita. Thoreau, a fierce anti-materialist, abandoned urban society to live in the Massachusetts woods near Walden and nonconformity. His poetry shows a mystic reverence for nature and a unique Pond—an experiment that lasted twenty-six months. He described his love of the natural world, his nonconformist attitude toward society, and his deep commitment to monkish simplicity in his ‘handbook for living,’ called Walden, or Life in the Woods. In this intimate yet forthright diary, Thoreau glorifies nature as innocent and beneficent—a source of joy and practical instruction.


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Transcendentalism and Other Views of Nature in Nineteenth-Century America. (2020, Nov 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/transcendentalism-and-other-views-of-nature-in-nineteenth-century-america/



How did transcendentalism affect nature?
Transcendentalism emphasized the spiritual connection between humans and nature, which led to a greater appreciation and respect for the natural world. This movement also inspired environmental activism and conservation efforts that continue to influence our relationship with nature today.
What did transcendentalist believe in during the 19th-century?
Transcendentalists believed in individualism, intuition, and imagination. They believed that these things were more important than reason and science.
What did transcendentalists believe humans and nature have in common?
Transcendentalists believed that humans and nature have a common spiritual origin. They also believed that humans are a part of nature, and that nature is a part of humans.
What impact did transcendentalism have on American society?
Postcolonial translation theory is concerned with the power dynamics between the colonizer and the colonized and how this affects the act of translation.
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