Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement : The Great Courses: English Literature

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Ashton Nichols
  • Series: The Great Courses: English Literature
  • 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The America we know today is so different in its fundamental views about almost every aspect of life as to be unrecognizable to our countrymen of two centuries ago. On issues as divergent as slavery, women's rights, education, the environment, and many others, we are simply no longer the country we were.
What is the source of not only these changes, but of our distinctly American way of experiencing ourselves-confident in our value as individuals, certain of our ability to discover truths, self-reliant in the face of uncertainty and change? Answers to questions like these and so many more are found in and around Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, which became, little more than five decades after the American Revolution, the epicenter of a profoundly influential movement that would make possible the America we know today. That movement was Transcendentalism-the subject of an extraordinary 24-lecture series by an award-winning teacher, scholar, and journalist.
You'll learn how Transcendentalism-drawing on an array of influences from Europe and the non-Western world-also offered uniquely American perspectives of thought: an emphasis on the divine in nature, on the value of the individual and intuition, and on belief in a spirituality that might "transcend" one's own experienceto provide a guide for daily living. And you'll learn how Transcendentalism's impact was rooted in the intellectual energy of two remarkable individuals: Ralph Waldo Emerson, the most important figure behind Transcendentalism in America, and Henry David Thoreau, his most influential disciple. Along with a diverse group of intellectual activists, literary figures, and social reformers, their ideas would remake America.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dry subject matter made interesting

Would you consider the audio edition of Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement to be better than the print version?

Yes the audio version has to be better. The Professor relayed a lot of material that would be very difficult to read(my opinion).

Who was your favorite character and why?

Walt Whitman. Portrayed very well in this reading.

Have you listened to any of Professor Ashton Nichols’s other performances before? How does this one compare?


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?


Any additional comments?

Prof Nichols is really dedicated to this subject. It is dry material but he kept it interesting. I almost got a feeling Prof Nichols was rendering an eye witness account.

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- Ray

So good!

I didn't realize how connected the transcendentalist movement really was. Frederick Douglas to Abe Lincoln, Henry David Thorough to M.L. King, and Gandhi... amazing!
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- david

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses