Lesson 1 (from Nature | The American Scholar)
Nature | The American Scholar
Transcendentalism is a philosophy that emphasizes the intuitive and spiritual above the empirical and material. Emerson was a transcendentalist, which is apparent in all his works, including "Nature". The objective of this lesson is to learn about transcendentalism, which is described in "Nature".
1) Class Discussion: What is transcendentalism? How is it characterized? What is important in the philosophy of transcendentalism? How is the intuition important? How is the spiritual important?
2) Group Discussion: Who is Ralph Waldo Emerson? What does he think of transcendentalism? What indicates this? How does Emerson express his views of transcendentalism in "Nature"?
3) Individual Writing Assignment: Have the students write a paragraph or two addressing the following. Explain Emerson's separation of the world into four categories. How do these divisions align with the philosophy of transcendentalism?
For Homework: Read "An Address" and "The Transcendentalist" in "Selected Writings of...
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