Marry, Date or Dump: Transcendentalists


Today I’m going back into American literary history to give you the choice to marry, date or dump three transcendentalists. For those of you who need a little refresher (I know I did) on what transcendentalism means, here is the definition from wikipedia: “Transcendentalists believed that society and its institutions—particularly organized religion and political parties—ultimately corrupted the purity of the individual. They had faith that people are at their best when truly “self-reliant” and independent. It is only from such real individuals that true community could be formed.”

There are loads of transcendentalists to choose from. I  picked out three of the top guys from the movement: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and the lesser known Amon Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May Alcott).

"What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." Ralph Waldo Emerson
“What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Go confidently in the directions of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." Henry David Thoreau
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau
"The less routine the more life" Amos Bronson Alcott
“The less routine the more life” Amos Bronson Alcott


12 thoughts on “Marry, Date or Dump: Transcendentalists

  1. Wellll, I guess since my goal in life is to be Marmee, I better marry Bronson Alcott, then date Emerson and dump Thoreau who is too self absorbed and if memory serves a mama’s boy.

  2. Transcendentalists? Ewwww. Although I do believe, as Emerson, all things are connected to God and, therefore, all things are divine. So I might possibly date him.

    I agree the Thoreau, that “Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” Any man that can use a double negative that powerfully and loves botany, travel and is a voracious reader, I might be willing to marry.

    And while there is much to praise in Amos Alcott, I could not endure his lifestyle. I mean Fruitlands? Really. Vegan diets in the 1820s. Sigh. And the constant financial struggle? No. I should have to dump him. Aalthough, he was just as a likely to be run out of town!

  3. YIKES. You really made this week a hard choice! D: But it’s fun 😀
    I remember hating Emerson despite a few choice quotes I could pluck from his work, so he’s an insta-dump. I don’t really want to live on a pond or wherever it is that Thoreau was out in nature, so I guess I’d date him for a couple walks in the woods or something. I am stuck marrying Bronson because at least he had a kid and maybe that means he was somewhat normal? And hopefully a looker when he was younger.
    Nice post! 😀

  4. This is interesting and challenging. Emerson was a bit too self-righteous for my tastes, and said it was a shame Thoreau had wasted his life when he presided over his funeral. And his writing, good grief, what a tangle of words to navigate getting to his meaning. He’d lost a child and was a sad man. Hmm…pass. Alcott? Pass on too many counts to name. Guess it’s the peculiar Thoreau, if for no other reason than he could see as a child, live like a man, was self-reliant and I could tell him to fix his own dinner 🙂

    Nice post, great choices.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I love your reasons. I think I would want to end up with Thoreau as well … I didn’t think about using his own writing as a way to tell him to make his own dinner though. Brilliant!

  5. I wouldn’t marry any of them (I’m not the marrying type) but would date Emerson and possibly Thoreau (sans beard). Alcott no on all counts (although I wouldn’t have to dump him if I didn’t date or marry him). I would welcome a chat or two with him however.

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