Never a truly organized body of thought, and characterized by defects as well as inspirational ideals, transcendentalism became one of the most subtly influential trends in nineteenth-century America. Three main currents contributed to this uniquely American school of thought: neo-Platonism and the belief in an ideal state of existence; British romanticism, with its emphasis on individualism; and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. From neo-Platonism — as nineteenth-century educated Americans understood it — came the belief in the primacy of intellectual thinking over material reality, an idea originated by the Greek philosopher Plato. Through a series of dramatic dialogues, Plato argues that there are ideal forms existing in an absolute reality; in the material world in which we live, all objects and phenomena are imperfect representations of these ideals.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Poems, Childhood & Facts - Biography
Bloom, Harold, ed. New York: Chelsea House, Bode, Carl, ed. New York: Hill and Wang, Bosco, Ronald A.
Yet, is it not our collective heritage, both the good and the bad, that embeds us in time, allowing us to enter into harmony with its rhythms and limitations? Less commented upon is the relationship between those views and a particular understanding of the natural world. Thus, for Emerson, the possibility of historical abstraction depends on a state of nature that has remained unchanged from time immemorial. It is only by separating nature from culture in this way another modern convention that Emerson can be assured of a world that is as-good-as-new for the modern self.
Table of contents. Please choose whether or not you want other users to be able to see on your profile that this library is a favorite of yours. Finding libraries that hold this item You may have already requested this item.