The Relationship Between Romanticism and Transcendentalism

Essay by frogbell87 April 2004

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Romanticism and Transcendentalism have a relationship that is similar of a mother to a daughter. Certain traits were passed along by the writers but each era differed in their own unique way. The Romanticists believed that certain parts of nature are beautiful, such as life, but were disgusted by others, such as death. They also believed that God may be both a good yet an evil entity. Transcendentalists took the teachings of the Romanticists to the next level. They not only worshiped nature as God but were taught by it as well. They accepted everything as a part of nature (both life and death) and thus a part of life.

Romanticism is an expression of the individual and of the needs of the individual. The romantic movement began shortly after the French and American Revolutions took place and rejected the previous ideas of the enlightenment. No longer would the decisions of people be based on the ideas of logic and reason but rather they would be based upon the ideas of emotion.

People would decide what they wanted based upon their emotional needs. People did retain however, the idea that God may be evil and that the Church does not govern life.

Transcendentalists believed that God takes a role in life and that this God is nature. Nature however, is beyond our understanding and therefore God is beyond our understanding. But, we can still learn from nature and revere nature. This contrasted from the previous ideas that stated that God is jealous of us (and steals our loved ones because of his jealousy) and that we should not worship anything. They believed that no person was higher than another and that we all are on the same plain. This is expressed in the first stanza of "Song of Myself." Whitman...