Transcendentalism Week 3

This week Jess Brooks gave a wonderful exposition of the richness of the transcendentalists in 19th Century America. These clearly are a key to understanding later developments in American Literature, especially its spirituality and its search for authenticity in human experience. Emerson and Thoreau were the central focus of her presentation; both the lecture and the tutorial helped to provide a basis for understanding what these two key figures were looking for in their own personal lives through nature and through their relationship to the political realities of their day.

So Blog topics for this session are not hard to think up.


Firstly: Can you say briefly (in around 250 words) how the thoughts and images of either Emerson or Thoreau (or both) have given you a clearer sense of what it is you are looking for in your own life. Maybe the sentence from Walden might be a catalyst for this: “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. (Chapter 2 Where I Lived, and What I Lived For). Or maybe the sentences from Nature captures what you wish for: “I become a transparent eye-ball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am a particle of God.” (Chapter 1)

Secondly: Using the following two images, describe what you see to be the essential differences in the nature of these two characters:


Thirdly: Write a paragraph beginning with Emerson’s line “In the woods too, a man casts off his years… In the woods is perpetual youth.” (Nature Chapter 1)

Fourthly: Write a paragraph beginning with the sentence “I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born.” Walden Chapter 2

Fifthly: Create your own topic interweaving your own personal experience with your understanding of either Emerson or Thoreau.

Remember to complete and post your first peer review; remember to copy and paste your review into your own blog (complete with the URL of your peer).

Remember that if you want to see who has commented on your blogs you need to go into “Comments”. There you can accept or reject any comments made.

Enjoy the process!

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