Review the materials below on Transcendentalism:

Features of Romantic Literature and Transcendentalism Power Point Presentation

Power Point Notes

Transcendentalist Rap

Modern View

Scrapbook Project

Emerson Quote

Links to Emerson Unit

Emerson Bio Page 1

Emerson Bio Page 2

Emerson Vocabulary

Great and Misunderstood

Features of Transcendentalism

Grammar and Sentence Variation

Public Service Announcement


Thoreau Quote

Links to Thoreau Unit

Thoreau Bio Page 1

Thoreau Bio Page 2

Walden Vocabulary and Reading Guide

Celebrate yourself

Links to Whitman Unit

Fear By: Raymond Carver

List Poem Examples

Catalogue Checklist

Reflection Sheet

Whitman Bio and Questions

I hear America Singing

I Too Hear America

Model for personal use

I Hear My School Singing planning sheet

Song of Myself 10 and 33


Transcendentalism all around:

Beauty in Simplicity

Be yourself!



Ralph Waldo Emerson


For this part of our unit, we will be reading excerpts from Emerson's Nature and Self-Reliance. As a founding father of the Transcendentalist movement, these pieces truly exemplify the ideas and writing styles of one of America's first influential literary movements.

Emerson believed in individualism, non-conformity, and the need for harmony between man and nature. He was a proponent of abolition, and spoke out about the cruel treatment of Native Americans. Influenced by the Eastern philosophy of unity and a divine whole, emphasizing God Immanent, to be found in everyone and everything, Emerson sowed the seeds of the American Transcendentalist movement. He realised the importance of the spiritual inner self over the material external self through studying Kantianism, Confucianism, Neo-Platonism, Romanticism, and dialectical metaphysics and reading the works of Saint Augustine, Sir Francis Bacon, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Shakespeare among many others. During his lifetime and since Emerson has had a profound influence on some of the 19th and 20th century's most prominent figures in the arts, religion, education, and politics.

Henry David Thoreau


Henry grew up very close to his older brother John, who taught school to help pay for Henry's tuition at Harvard. While there, Henry read a small book by his Concord neighbor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, and in a sense he never finished exploring its ideas -- although always definitely on his own terms, just as he explored everything! He and his brother taught school for a while but in 1842, John cut himself while shaving and died of lockjaw in his brother's arms, an untimely death which traumatized the 25 year old Henry. He worked for several years as a surveyor and making pencils with his father, but at the age of 28 in 1845, wanting to write his first book, he went to Walden pond and built his cabin on land owned by Emerson

While at Walden, Thoreau did an incredible amount of reading and writing, yet he also spent much time "sauntering" in nature. He gave a lecture and was imprisoned briefly for not paying his poll tax, but mostly he wrote a book as a memorial to a river trip he had taken with his brother, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack RiversWeb Site.

Thoreau's cabin

Walt Whitman


American poet, journalist and essayist, best known for LEAVES OF GRASS (1855), which was occasionally banned, and the poems 'I Sing the Body Electric' and 'Song of Myself.' Whitman incorporated natural speech rhythms into poetry. He disregarded metre, but the overall effect has a melodic character. Harold Bloom has stated in The Western Canon (1994) that "no Western poet, in the past century and half, not even Browning, or Leopardi or Baudelaire, overshadows Walt Whitman or Emily Dickinson."

Walt Whitman was born in Long Island, New York, the son of a Quaker carpenter. Whitman's mother was descended from Dutch farmers. In Whitman's childhood there were slaves employed on the farm. Whitman was early on filled with a love of nature. He read classics i n his youth and was inspired by writers such as Goethe, Hegel, Carlyle and Emerson. He left school early to become a printer's apprentice. He also in 1835 worked as a teacher and journeyman printer. After that he held a great variety of jobs while writing and editing for several periodicals, The Brooklyn Eagle from 1846 to 1848 and The Brooklyn Times from 1857 to 1858. In between he spent three months on a New Orleans paper, working for his father, and earning his living from undistinguished hack-work.


America at work