What in the story is an example of Anti-Trancendentalism?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is going to be a bit dicey because you would be on the search for works that go against the basic tenets of Transcendentalism.  This means that works that qualify would be articulating an anti- totalizing tradition, something that is not necessarily affirming of individual freedom, and works that stress the despairing condition of human consciousness as opposed to a liberating notion of being in the world.  This makes the field wide open.  From a purely intellectual standpoint, I think that it might be really interesting to examine a Transcendentalist work with something like Dostoyevsky's Notes From the Underground. I think that the comparison would really bring much out in both.  On one hand, the Transcendentalist desire to link human freedom to a larger configuration or design is repudiated in the frame of reference of the "underground man."  Consider the fact that he does not even have a name, something that rebukes the Transcendentalist belief of individuality and uniqueness.  The Transcendentalist view of the human being as an agent of creative action is negated by Dostoyevsky's idea whereby the "underground man" is only capable of bringing torment and pain to everyone with whom he interacts.  I think the examination of Transcendentalist tendencies with Dostoyevsky's work might be a great example of the hopes of Transcendentalism colliding with the despairing vision of a work that can be seen as Anti- Transcendentalist.

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