American Philosophy

New England Transcendentalists

Who were the New England Transcendentalists?

They are considered to be the American counterparts to European Romantics, who valued emotion as much or more than reason and stressed the importance of individual and private yearnings. The distinctively American form of Romanticism, as seen in the novels of Herman Melville (1819–1891), the prose of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), the poetry of Walt Whitman (1819–1892), and the essays of Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), emphasized the condition of the solitary and courageous private person in nature. As well, there were distinctly philosophical transcendentalists, such as Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888).


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