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Primary Source Analysis (Between Emerson and Thoreau) Essay Example

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Primary Source Analysis (Between Emerson and Thoreau)

In working to raise nature above history in terms of spiritual and intellectual importance, Emerson writes, “Why should we not also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?” (Emerson, p. Later in the text Emerson indicates that the existence of a common man in 19th century America is just as glorious as Julius Caesar’s existence. In this way Emerson is indicating that man’s search for truth and meaning should be rooted in their relationship with nature over their relationship history. To an extent Thoreau embraces Emerson’s epistemological positioning of nature as transcending history. Thoreau writes, “I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks” (Thoreau, p. Still, Thoreau seems more willing to revel in the way that nature brings man into a direction connection with historical precedent. In either instance there is theThe means that the texts explore the way man interacts with nature represents another significant consideration. Emerson clearly embraces a phenomenological connection with nature and subsequently the universe. He indicates, “The foundations of man are not in matter, but in spirit. But the element of spirit is eternity” (Emerson, p. In addition to indicating this means of connecting with nature, Emerson articulates a number of dimensions to his perspective, including notions of the Soul. While Emerson works to create a pantheon of spirituality through reference to the Soul, Thoreau works more to demonstrate appropriate ways for man to consider their place in the world and their relation to nature. In one instance Thoreau describes his entrance into town. He comments, “When I meet the engine with its train of cars moving off with planetary motion, -- or rather like a comet, for the beholder knows not if with that velocity and with that direction it will ever revisit this system” (Thoreau, p. While Emerson seems to advance a spiritual connection with nature based on emotions and feelings, in the above instance Thoreau’s explanation of modern technology with natural descriptions more prominently involves intellectual reasoning. In either instance, there is the concomitant recognition by these writers that as nature is the highest and most complex form of design, man’s incursion in the

References

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden: Life in the Woods. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 2000.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Nature. Boston: Ticknor and Fields. 2000.

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preview essay on Primary Source Analysis (Between Emerson and Thoreau)
  • Pages: 4 (1000 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Level: Masters
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