He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society.
In the essay, Emerson offers a definition of the transcendentalist, describing the follower of this philosophy of optimism and positive thinking as a rather passive, even bored individual, who feels misunderstood — and mistreated — by the general public.
It is likely that he had specific people in mind who fit the description of this isolationist, although he mentions no names. Perhaps he intended the essay primarily for them, hoping that his critique would inspire transcendentalists to act more in accord with their exalted principles.
The essay does not have internally marked divisions.
However, it falls into three main sections: The first section paragraphs discusses transcendentalism as a form of idealism and contrasts it with materialism; the second section paragraphs focuses on charges made against transcendentalism, its history, and its shortcomings; and the remainder of the essay paragraphs describes a set of people who, Emerson believes, adhere to this philosophy.
He addresses the misunderstandings between these adherents and the public at large. Readers should number each paragraph in pencil as this discussion will refer to individual paragraphs.Transcendentalism is a school of philosophical thought that developed in 19th century America.
Important trancendentalist thinkers include Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. The transcendentalists supported women's rights and the abolition of slavery, and were critical of organized religion and government. Ralph Waldo Emerson American Transcendentalism; Britannica Websites.
Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Transcendentalism - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages ) transcendentalism - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up) Article History. Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American Transcendentalist poet, philosopher and essayist during the 19th century.
One of his best-known essays is "Self-Reliance.” Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May Born: May 25, On May 25, , American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the midth century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society.
American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was born on May 25, , in Boston, Massachusetts. After studying at Harvard and teaching for a brief time, Emerson entered the ministry. He was appointed to the Old Second Church in his native city, but soon became an unwilling preacher.
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson.