Romanticism: Transcendentalism and Henry David Thoreau

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The Romantic Era followed the Age of Reason. While the Age of Reason involved emphasis on science and rational thinking, Romanticism was the exact opposite. Romantics valued feeling and intuition over reason. They recognized the worth of the individual, and praised beauty, imagination, and innocence. Some of these writers were Margaret Fuller, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau. Through this paper the writer intends to present the reasons that these three authors are considered Romantic writers.

Margaret Fuller demonstrated her Romantic tendencies even throughout her life. With a genuine disgust for conformity, she went against all the views of her time on what women should be. This was shown in her work Woman in the Nineteenth Century. Here she incorporated several characteristics of Romanticism other than her obvious rebellion against conformity. “‘Frailty thy name is WOMAN.’ ‘The Earth waits for her Queen.’ THE connection between these quotations may not be obvious, but it is strict. Yet would any contradict us, if we made them applicable to the other side, and began also Frailty thy name is MAN. The Earth waits for its King?

Yet man, if not fully installed in his powers, has given much earnest of his claims. Frail he is indeed,—how frail! how impure! Yet often has the vein of gold displayed itself amid the baser ores, and Man has appeared before us in princely promise worthy of his future.” (Woman in the Nineteenth Century) This quote is an example of her praising the individual, something very common among Romantic writers. She does not believe in the stereotyping of men or women. She also hates the fact that a man is thought to be better than a woman at all times, even when he is frailer than a woman is. She wants women to have an equal opportunity to have a future. “…I must depend on myself as the only constant friend. This self-dependence, which was honored in me, is deprecated as a fault in most women. They are taught...
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