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超验主义:Emerson & Thoreau_图文

超验主义:Emerson & Thoreau_图文

(Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau)

I. Transcendentalism
? ? ? ? ? Flourished in 1830s-1850s (1836—1855) Nature (1836) as its unofficial manifesto The summit of American romanticism “American Renaissance” Not only one of the important signs of the independence of American literature but also a significant phrase in the history of American culture

? Leaders: Emerson and Thoreau ? Club: Transcendentalist Club (Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 8, 1836) ? Journal: The Dial


Historical Introduction ?Origin: The term "transcendental" originated from Kant's philosophy and it refers to anything belonging to intuition. According to Emerson, "What is popularly called Transcendentalism among us is idealism; idealism as appears in 1842."

? It is the product of combination of: ? 1) American Puritanism:
? Inward communication of the soul with God and divine symbolism of nature ? The Puritan principle of self-culture and selfimprovement

? 2) Foreign influence: ? European Romanticism ? German Idealist philosophy ? Oriental mysticism as revealed in Hindoo and Chinese classics.

Definition of Transcendentalism
? A philosophic and literary movement that flourished in New England, particularly at Concord, as a reaction against 18 th century rationalism. It has been defined Philosophically as “ the recognition in man ’ s capacity of knowing truth intuitively, or attaining knowledge transcending the reach of the senses. ” This romantic, idealistic, mystical, and individualistic belief was more a cast of thought than a systematic philosophy:

Essence of Transcendentalism
? 1. Over-soul It is an all-pervading power from which all things come from and of which all are a part. ? 2. Individualism ? The importance of the Individual, self-reliance ? 3. Nature ? As symbol of the Spirit or God Go back to nature, sink yourself back into its influence and you’ll become spiritually whole again.

Major features of Transcendentalism ① Spirit, or the Oversoul (超灵): most important thing in the universe; an allpervading power for goodness, omnipresent and omnipotent; from which all things come and of which all are a part; exists in nature and man alike; constitutes the chief element of the universe.
It’s a new way of looking at the world, and a reaction to the 18th century Newtonian concept of the universe which holds that the universe is made up of matter.

② Secondly, the Transcendentalists stressed the importance of the individual. The individual was the most important element of society; his self-culture (修养), self-improvement and self-perfection should become the first concern of his life; the ideal type of man is the selfreliant individual; people should depend on themselves for spiritual perfection; the individual soul communed with the Oversoul and is therefore divine. It’s a new way of looking at man, and a reaction against the Calvinist concept that man is totally depraved, sinful and remains in sinhood, and can not hope to be saved except through the grace of God.

③ Thirdly, the Transcendentalists offered a fresh

perception of nature as symbolic of the Spirit or God. Nature was, to them, not purely matter, but alive and filled with God ’ s overwhelming presence; the garment of the Oversoul; exercises a healthy and restorative influence on the human mind; things in nature tend to become symbolic, and the physical world is a symbol of the spiritual.

It’s a new way of looking at nature and added to the tradition of literary symbolism in American literature.

II. Representatives of Transcendentalism

Waldo Emerson ?Henry David Thoreau

Ralph Waldo Emerson


An philosopher, poet and prose writer; The most influential among his contemporaries, and the leading figure and most eloquent spokesman of New England Transcendentalism; His Nature is called “the Manifesto” and “the Bible” of Transcendentalism.


1.Biographical Introduction 2.Major Works 3. Emerson's Thought 4.Reputation and Influence 5.Case Study

1. Biographical Introduction
? Son of a New England clergymen ? Experienced “genteel poverty” as a child ? Went to Harvard, reconsider Calvinist belief, embraced Unitarianism ? Became a Unitarian minister to the Second church of Boston Ralph Waldo Emerson ? Left his job for Europe and brought back European Romanticism ? Formed Transcendentalist Club and its journal “the Dial”, became spokesman of New England Transcendentalism

2. Major Works
? Nature《论自然》 ? “The American Scholar”《美国学者 》 ? “The Divinity School Address 《神学院演说》 ? “Self-Reliance” 《论自助》 ? “Over-soul” 《论超灵》

Nature (1836)
Nature is one of Emerson’s best-known and most influential essays, it is a lyrical expression of the harmony Emerson felt between himself and nature. The main idea of the essay is that nature inspires spiritual understanding in human being. It’s considered as the Bible of Transcendentalism.

“The American Scholar”(1837)
? Sixty years after declaring independence, American culture was still heavily influenced by Europe, and Emerson, for possibly the first time in the country's history, provided a visionary philosophical framework for escaping "from under its iron lids" and building a new, distinctive American cultural identity. ? Oliver Wendell Holmes,

Sr. declared this speech to be America's "Intellectual Declaration of Independence".

“The Divinity School Address”(1838)
? The address touched off a major controversy among American Unitarian theologians, primarily about the necessity of belief in the historical truth of the Biblical miracles, but involving other secondary issues as well. The Unitarian establishment of New England and of Harvard Divinity School rejected Emerson's teachings outright for the next thirty years.

? “Self-Reliance” is his significant work which expresses his idea of transcendentalism, one focus of which is the primacy of the individual. So it explores individualism at the heart of Emerson’s Transcendental faith: the dignity and the ultimate sanctity of each human being. ? “Believe in Yourself” is the core point of “Self-Reliance.”

"Over-soul" is the ninth essay in the 1841 edition of Emerson's Essays, and it remains one of the best sources of information about his faith. In it, he outlines his belief in a God who resides in each of us and whom we can communicate with, without membership in a church or the assistance of an intermediary church official.

3. Emerson’s Thought:

① A l l t h e t h i n g s i n t h e u n i v e r se a r e t h e embodiments of the Oversoul; the soul of man is part of the Oversoul; man is divine.
② The individual is the most important of all. man can hope to become better and even perfect; he believed “the infinitude of man; men should and could be self-reliant; each man should feel the world as his, and the world exists for him alone; in the main optimistic about human perfectibility.

Nature is emblematic of God. It mediates between man and God; nature is the symbol of spirit, and the wholesome moral influence on man and his character.

His “ The American Scholar ” (a speech made in Harvard College in 1837, published in 1838) has been regarded (first by Oliver Wendell Holmes) as “ America ’ s Declaration of Intellectual Independence.”

He called on American writers to write about America in a peculiarly American way . In his view, everything in America was worth writing; the Americans were great in their own way. He was regarded as the standard-bearer ( 旗手 ) of the independence of American culture.

4. Reputation and Influence
An American essayist, philosopher and poet The most eloquent spokesman of New England Transcendentalism Intituled as the Father of American Civilization by ex-President Lincoln The representative personage of establishing American cultural spirit; His aesthetics brought about a revolution in American literature. It marked the birth of true American poetry. His greatest contribution lies in the fact that he firmly advocated the establishment of an independent national literature and culture.

Appreciation of Works


? To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and vulgar things. 走入孤独,远离书斋,如同远离社会 一样重要。纵然无人在我身旁,当我读书或写作时, 并非独处一隅。如果一个人渴望独处,就请他注目于 星辰吧。那从天界下行的光芒,使人们得以出离可触 摸的现世。

? One might think the atmosphere was made transparent with this design, to give man, in the heavenly bodies, the perpetual presence of the sublime. Seen in the streets of cities, how great they are! If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these preachers of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.可以这样说,我们假想, 大气之所以透明,就是为了让人们看到天国的灿烂光 芒。从普通城市的街道向上看,它们是如此深邃伟岸。 假如星辰千年一现,人类关于上帝之城的记忆,必将 世代相传,为人们长久地信仰着,珍存着,崇拜着。 然而,每一晚,这些美的使者都会降临,以它们带有 训诫意味的微笑 ,照亮宇宙。

Main Idea
In this excerpt, the author accounts that nature provides perfect joy, a oneness with God, an understanding of immortal beauty and the interconnection of all things. He shows us nature’s divinity and its power to purify men’s

? He thinks that the most enriching form of solitude is to be alone with nature, to “retire from his chamber”, that is, to keep far away from the whole society or to have no connection with the civilization of society. ( “To go into solitude…let him look at the stars.”) ? He finds that nature, like stars, always presents and creates a reverence in the observer. (“But every night come out these preachers of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”) ? He claims that he loses contact with everything but nature, becomes a “transparent eye-ball” and feels that “I am part or particle of God”. ( “One might think …the perpetual presence of the sublime.” )

? He argues that a truly open-minded, open-eyed contemplation of nature should yield transcendent emotions of praise and wonder. (“Seen in the streets of cities, …and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”) ? He declares that a vision of the “city of God” is available on any night in the streets of any ordinary city; one need only lift up one’s eyes to participate in a perpetual sacrament of selfrenewal. (“Seen in the streets of cities, …and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”)

“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.” (P167 P1 L1-L6) 每个人在受教育过程中,总有一天会认识到:妒忌是无知,模仿是自杀。 不论好歹,每个人都必须接受属于他的那一份,广阔的世界里虽然充满了 珍馐美味,但是只有从给予他去耕耘的那一片土地里,通过辛勤劳动收获 的谷物才富有营养。

Analysis:In essence, these lines highlight that trying to be like everyone else will ultimately strip your own identity. You must accept who you are and only then can you make yourself feel worthy.

? “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” (P168 P2 L1) 相信你自己吧: 每颗心都随着那弦跳动。 Analysis: This is generally

stating that if you trust yourself, then you can truly be content in whatever you do or wherever you go.

? “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members” 社会到处都是防患各社会成员成熟起来的阴谋。 Analysis: In other words, in order to be a part of something (society), man has lost his individual identity. This quote is saying that the conspiracy against the manhood of men is conformation and uniformity. Society strives for mass agreement when in fact, the inside of every man hides a unique view and opinion afraid to be outspoken in fear of rejection and ridicule. Society likes conformity, and it is not comfortable with original thinking.


"Whose would be a man, must be a nonconformist …Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind “.(P170 P3 L1) 任何名副其实的真正的人,都必须是不落俗套的人。 任何采集圣地棕榈叶的人,都不应当拘泥于名义上的 善,而应当发掘善之本身。除了我们心灵的真诚之外, 其它的一切归根结蒂都不是神圣的。 Analysis: Emerson believes that man should be dependent on only himself. He must break away from the conformity of society and detach himself from friends and family in order to be a true man. To find integrity is the ultimate goal of human existence.

? “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”(P172 P2 L1) 愚蠢地坚持随众随俗是心胸狭小的幽灵的表现,是 低级的政客,哲学家和神学家们崇拜的物件。 Analysis: Here Emerson suggests that you

can never be better than anyone else if the ideas you propose are not your own. That is, without new ideas from every individual, then things will not change and people will never grow, they will continue to live in their “foolish consistency.”

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Transcendentalist Naturalist Writer Poet Philosopher


1.Biographical Introduction 2.Major Works 3.Thoreau's Thought 4.Reputation and Influence

1. Biographical Introduction
? ?



Birth place: Born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1817 Education Experience: studied at Harvard University(1833 and 1837). His relationship with Emerson: Emerson’s truest disciple and friends. Residence at Walden Pond: in 1845, he began to take a two-year-residence at Walden Pond




His residence at the Pond was interrupted by a day’s imprisonment for refusal to pay a poll tax to a government that supported the Mexican War, a war he considered merely a land grabbing scheme of the Southern slaveholders. This action was in accord with his belief in passive resistance, a means of protest he explained in his essay “Civil Disobedience.” He believed that that government is best which governs least, that they are the lovers of law and order who observe the law when government breaks it.”

2. Thoreau's Main Works

《康科德河和梅里麦克河上的一个星期》(A Week on the Concord and Merrimac Rivers ,1839) 《论公民的不服从权利》 (Civil Disobedience ,1849) 《马萨诸赛州的奴隶制度》 (Slavery in Massachusetts ,1854) 《瓦尔登湖》 (Walden ,1854) 《为约翰· 布朗上校请愿》 (A Plea for Captain John Brown , 1860) 《远足》(Excursions ,1863) 《缅因森林》 (The Maine Woods ,1864) 《科德角》(Cape Cod ,1865) 《马萨诸赛州的早春》(Early Spring in Massachusetts,1881) 《夏》(Summer ,1884) 《冬》(Winter ,1888) 《秋》(Autumn ,1892) 《杂录》(Miscellanies ,1894)

Life in the Woods

? First published in Boston,1854 ? A collection of 18 nature essays ? It is neither a fiction or an autobiography, but combines these two styles. ? The book is mainly about Thoreau's life near Walden Pond , where he lived in a cabin for 26 months. ? It describes the nature and some reflections of life from nature.

Statue of Henry David Thoreau at Walden Pond


Thoreau Went to Walden in 1845.
? 1 room cabin ? Lived alone ? Grew vegetables in a 1/2 acre field, lived mostly as vegetarian ? Rowed boat on pond ? Recorded life, particularly details of pond, woods, changes of season, his thoughts

? Wrote “A week on Concord and Merrimack Rivers” ? Wrote Walden later







? ?



Thoreau did not intend to live as a hermit, for he received visitors and returned their visits. Instead, he hoped to isolate himself from society in order to gain a more objective understanding of it. Simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's other goals, and the whole project was inspired by transcendentalist philosophy, which was one of the key ideas of the American Romantic Period. As Thoreau made clear in his book, his cabin was not in wilderness but at the edge of town, not far from his family home.

Not exactly wilderness, only a couple of miles from his family home…

Idea of living deliberately highly influential…


? I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,to front only the essential facts of life,and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,and not,when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ? 我步入丛林,因为我希望生活得有意义,我希 望活得深刻,并汲取生命中所有的精华。然后 从中学习,以免让我在生命终结时,却发现自 己从来没有活过.


? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Economy(经济篇) Where I Lived,and What I Lived For(我的生活所在,我的生活追求) Reading Sounds Solitude(孤独) Visitors The Bean-Field The Village The Ponds Baker Farm Higher Laws Brute Neighbors(与禽兽为邻) House-warming Former Inhabitaants,and Winter Visitors(昔日的居民,冬日的访客) Winter Animals The Pond in Winter Spring Conclusion

? Economy

Synopsis (contents)

– This is the first chapter and also the longest by far. Thoreau begins by outlining his project: a two-year and two-month stay at a crude cabin in the woods near Walden Pond. He does this, he says, in order to illustrate the spiritual benefits of a simplified lifestyle. He easily supplies the four necessities of life (food, shelter, clothing, and fuel). He meticulously records his expenditures and earnings, demonstrating his understanding of "economy," as he builds his house and buys and grows food. For a home and freedom, he spends a mere $28.13.

? Complementary Verses
– This chapter consists entirely of a poem, "The Pretensions of Poverty," by seventeenth-century English poet Thomas Carew. The poem criticizes those who think that their poverty gives them unearned moral and intellectual superiority.


Synopsis (contents)
? Where I Lived, and What I Lived For
– After playing with the idea of buying a farm, Thoreau describes his cabin's location. Then he explains that he took up his abode at Walden Woods so as to "live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

? Reading
– Thoreau provides discourse on the benefits of reading classical literature (preferably in the original Greek or Latin) and bemoans the lack of sophistication in Concord, manifested in the popularity of popular literature. He yearns for a utopian time when each New England village will support "wise men" to educate and thereby ennoble the population.

? Sounds

Synopsis (contents)

– Thoreau opens this chapter by warning against relying too much on literature as a means of transcendence. Instead, one should experience life for oneself. Thus, after describing his cabin's beautiful natural surroundings and his casual housekeeping habits, Thoreau goes on to criticize the train whistle that interrupts his reverie. To him, the railroad symbolizes the destruction of the good old pastoral way of life. Following is a description of the sounds audible from his cabin: the church bells ringing, carriages rattling and rumbling, cows lowing, whip-poor-wills singing, owls hooting, frogs croaking, and cockerels crowing.

? Solitude
– Thoreau rhapsodizes about the beneficial effects of living solitary and close to nature. He loves to be alone, for "I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude," and he is never lonely as long as he is close to nature. He believes there is no great value to be had by rubbing shoulders with the mass of humanity.

Synopsis (contents)
? Visitors
– Thoreau writes about the visitors to his cabin. Among the 25 or 30 visitors is a young French-Canadian woodchopper, Alec Therien, whom Thoreau idealizes as approaching the ideal man, and a runaway slave, whom Thoreau helps on his journey to freedom in Canada.

? The Bean-Field
– Thoreau relates his efforts to cultivate two and a half acres of beans. He plants in June and spends his summer mornings weeding the field with a hoe. He sells most of the crop, and his small profit of $8.71 covers his needs.

? The Village
– Thoreau visits the small town of Concord every day or two to hear the In late summer, he is arrested for refusing to pay federal taxes, but is released the next day. He explains that he refuses to pay taxes to a government that supports slavery.

? Baker Farm

Synopsis (contents)

– While on an afternoon ramble in the woods, Thoreau gets caught in a rainstorm and takes shelter in the dirty, dismal hut of John Field, a penniless but hard-working Irish farmhand, and his wife and children. Thoreau urges Field to live a simple but independent and fulfilling life in the woods, thereby freeing himself of employers and creditors. But the Irishman won't give up his dreams of luxury, which is the American dream.

? Higher Laws
– Thoreau discusses whether hunting wild animals and eating meat is good. He concludes that the primitive, animal side of humans drives them to kill and eat animals, and that a person who transcends this propensity is superior to those who don't. (Thoreau eats fish.) In addition to vegetarianism, he lauds chastity, work, and teetotalism.


Synopsis (contents)
? Brute Neighbors
– Thoreau briefly discusses the many wild animals that are his neighbors at Walden. A description of the nesting habits of partridges is followed by a fascinating account of a massive battle between red and black ants. Three of the combatants he takes into his cabin and examines them under a microscope as the black ant kills the two smaller red ones. Later, Thoreau takes his boat and tries to follow a teasing loon about the pond.

? House-Warming
– After picking November berries in the woods, Thoreau bestirs himself to add a chimney and plaster the walls of his hut in order to stave off the cold of the oncoming winter. He also lays in a good supply of firewood, and expresses affection for wood and fire.


Synopsis (contents)
? Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors
– Thoreau relates the stories of people who formerly lived in the vicinity of Walden Pond. Then he talks about the few visitors he receives during the winter: a farmer, a woodchopper, and a poet (Ellery Channing).

? Winter Animals
– Thoreau amuses himself by watching wildlife during the winter. He relates his observations of owls, hares, red squirrels, mice, and various birds as they hunt, sing, and eat the scraps and corn he put out for them. He also describes a fox hunt that passes by.

Synopsis (contents)
? Spring – As spring arrives, Walden and the other ponds melt with stentorian thundering and rumbling. Thoreau enjoys watching the thaw, and grows ecstatic as he witnesses the green rebirth of nature. He watches the geese winging their way north, and a hawk playing by itself in the sky. As nature is reborn, the narrator implies, so is he. He departs Walden on September 8, 1847. ? Conclusion – This final chapter is more passionate and urgent than its predecessors. In it, he criticizes conformity: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." By doing these things, men may find happiness and self-fulfillment.


Four Important Elements in Walden ? ? ? ? Self-reliance(自立) Solitude(孤独) Contemplation(沉思) Closeness to nature(亲近大自然)



The main theme is that material goods has nothing to do with happiness. It stresses the importance of thought over material circumstance. Self-culture and human perfectibility: The most important thing for man to do with their lives is to be self-sufficient and strive to achieve personal spiritual perfection;spiritual richness is the real wealth. One’s soul will help make real “progress” in self-improvement.

? H e a dv o c a t e s r e t ur ning to na tur e a nd simplicity.The best way to find truth: leave the materialistic-oriented life of the hustle and bustle and sink oneself in the wholesome atmosphere of nature ? Criticism of modern civilization : Modern civilized life has dehumanized man and place him in a spiritual quandary: by trying to acumulate material possessions, man is not really living; he is digging his own grave; – “Civilized man is the slave of matter” .

? The symbolism The pond----clear, cool as his soul; It is a place to find yourself, your soul and your vocation; The spring----new life; Walden----a nation ( “Walden is dead” is a biblical illusion; A nation which is dead can come to live again; The rebirth of Walden in spring is the rebirth of the nation;

Three Main Purposes of Describing the Life at Walden
? First, he was escaping the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution by returning to a simpler, agrarian lifestyle. ? Second, he was simplifying his life and reducing his expenditures, increasing the amount of leisure time in which he could work on his writings. ? Third, he was putting into practice the Transcendentalist belief that one can best "transcend" normality and experience the Ideal, or the Divine, through nature.

3. Thoreau’s Thought
① He took a more than usual interest in the natural world. Like Emerson, but more than him, he saw nature as a genuine restorative, healthy influence on man ’ s spiritual well-being; the best way for man to find truth directly is by sinking himself in the wholesome atmosphere of nature. ② He has been regarded as a prophet of individualism in American literature.

③ He was very critical of modern civilization . In his opinion, modern civilization was degrading and enslaving man; modern life has dehumanized man and placed him in a spiritual quandary (awkward or difficult situation); by trying to amass material possessions, man is not really living; he is digging his own grave; spiritual wealth is real wealth.

He went to live on Walden Pond just to experiment with a new way of life for himself, and felt that he came out of it a better man, reborn and reinvigorated. And in 1854, he published his masterpiece, Walden, one of the representative Transcendentalist works.

④ Thoreau was a man with a strong sense

of justice, and desired that everyone should be treated with justice. For him, to respect justice is more important than to abide by the law. ⑤ Thoreau had utopian political ideas, and held that “that government is best which governs not at all”. ⑥ Thoreau was an active abolitionist and the spokesman of the Abolitionist Movement.

Thoreau and Traditional Chinese Culture

1. Thoreau's Reception of Chinese Culture

1) The open-minded and all-inclusive intellectual atmosphere of Harvard University contributed to Thoreau's exploration of Oriental culture. 2) Thoreau was greatly influenced by his spiritual mentor who introduced to him oriential culture, especially Chinese Confucianism.

? 3)

Thoreau helped Emerson to edit the transcendentalism journal, Dial, and became a columnist introducing Confunianism. He published more than 40 classical quotations of Confucius.


? 这些古书是多么动人心魄,荷马、孔子


Lin Yutang (林语堂):

The philosophy of Thoreau, among all the American writers, can be viewed as the most full of Chinese color.梭罗的哲学观, 在所有美国作家中,可以说最富中国人的色 彩。 74

From Lin Yutang:
林雨堂先生在《论生活的重要性》中写道: “就其整个人生观来说,梭罗在美国作家中最 具中国情趣.作为中国人,我感觉与梭罗心心 相通。我可以将梭罗的文字译成中文, 把它们当作中国诗人的诗作向国人展示。 没有人会产生怀疑。”

2. A Comparative Study on Transcendentalism and Chinese Culture


? (1)Advocating

the integration of nature and man and returning to nature (the most important and meaningful part of their conception) 天人合一,物我一体,崇尚自然,回归自 然

庄子:“天地者,万物之父母也”,“天地与我 并生,而万物与我为一”,道是万物的本源,人 是自然界的万物之一,人类社会是整个自然界的 一部分。 在自然界中,天地人三者是相应的。 《易经》三才之道:天之道,地之道,人之道 老子“人法地,地法天,天法道,道法自然”

梭罗: “我更愿将人看成自然界的栖息者,或 自然的一部分, 而不愿把他看成社会的一分 子”

(2)Pursuing simplified and plain life
梭罗崇尚物质生活的简朴,追求返璞归真,是 对儒家文化中安贫乐道思想的赞赏和认同, 也 与佛家追求的清心寡欲不谋而合。 ? 梭罗《凡尔登湖》: 最明智的人生活得甚至比穷人更为简单和朴素。 梭罗隐居生活为他找到了答案:生活简朴到何 种地步而又不失其美妙。


(3)Pursuing spiritual perfection

儒家:“人学”,注重精神修养。孔子认为君子是一 个道德高尚,能够实现自我的人,“君子求诸己, 小 人求诸人”, 一个思想独立,足以自律的君子是可以 依靠自己的灵感和力量,自觉自知的感知自己和周围 世界的关系,从精神上拥有整个世界。

Thoreau: Man can strive to achieve his spiritual perfection through inner source (self-discipline/ self-reliance/ and through the purification of nature. ? 梭罗引用《论语》:三军可夺帅也,匹夫不可 夺志也。

4. Reputation and Influence
A prose writer and poet, and another renowned New England Transcendentalist; For half a century after his death, he remained in obscurity, but he became one of the three great American authors of the nineteenth century who had no contemporary readers and yet became great in the 20th century (the other two being Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson).

? Thoreau's

writings influenced many public figures: Political leaders and reformers like Mahatma Gandhi, President John F. Kennedy, civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Russian author Leo Tolstoy William Butler Yeats, Ernest Hemingway,

Critical Responses


American poet Robert Frost wrote of Thoreau, "In one book ... he surpasses everything we have had in America." Poet John Greenleaf Whittier criticized what he perceived as the message in Walden that man should lower himself to the level of a woodchuck(美洲旱獭) and walk on four legs. He said: "Thoreau's Walden is a capital reading, but very wicked and heathenish... After all, for me, I prefer walking on two legs

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