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How can I identify the elements of transcendentalism in Emersons' "Nature"?

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shahrzadeh | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 8, 2010 at 3:55 AM via web

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How can I identify the elements of transcendentalism in Emersons' "Nature"?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 8, 2010 at 4:08 AM (Answer #1)

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One of the major elements of Transcendentalism is the idea that nature and the person (each person) are really part of each other.  Transcendentalism says that you cannot separate the two from each other.  If you are talking solely about the chapter entitled "Nature" from Emerson's larger book (also entitled "Nature") this is the only aspect of Transcendentalism that is discussed.

You can see this very clearly in Emerson's essay.  He argues that there are two parts of the universe.  There is the self (each person's self) and there is nature (everything else).  He argues that the two of them are linked together inextricably.  As Emerson says in the essay:

Standing on the bare ground, -- my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, -- all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.

This shows that he sees himself as part of nature and that nature is part of him.

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