How does Emerson's Nature points to the influence of the European Romantic movement upon American literature?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

A Transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson believed that all things in the world are a reflection of the Divine Soul. Therefore, the physical facts of the world are a pathway to the spiritual world, a pathway that can be reached by people if they use their intuition. Much like the Transcendentalists, the Romantics believed in the power of intuition, love for the spiritual, as well as the importance of each individual.

InĀ Nature, Emerson writes that "Nature always wears the colors of the spirit." Within the "plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign"; man can communicate with nature and arrive through intuition at a higher knowledge. Enlightened so by his communication with nature, Emerson feels that he becomes attuned to his own individuality and his better self, much as a Romantic would in the presence of nature. For example, the Romantic poet William Wordsworth writes of love of nature and the "Sublime," the experience that is one of the spirit, in his poem "Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey,"

And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts, a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused....

Like Emerson, Wordsworth feels a connection to nature and individual experience that moves beyond rational thought.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,944 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question