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Transcendentalism Ideas: ‘Summer On The Lakes’

Transcendentalism refers to a literary and philosophical movement that emphasized on the existence of an idyllic spiritual reality that surpasses pragmatic and scientific understanding but uses instinct. This essay will focus on Margaret Fuller and her contribution to transcendentalism through her book ‘Summer on the Lakes.’ The book is partly about Margaret personal account of her life in the summer of 1843. Margaret takes about internal travel i.e. travels within the mind and states that they are the most significant kind of journeys in a person’s life.

Margaret takes us through her mental journey from New England all the way to places like the Niagara falls “…what I liked best is sitting on the Table Rock…” (p6), Rock river and Mackinac Island, Rock River and the village of native Indians as a symbolism of her shift from idealism and her embracing transcendentalism. Margaret also takes of the idyllic place Goat Island that is “full of flowers” Margaret goes on to describe the beauty of Chicago “…saw the beautiful prairie flowers…” (p 30)Emerson idealism asserts the importance and the power of ideas.
Idealism is concerned about visual changes and the way humans change the way they interact with the environment. Emerson’s idealism is closely related to Margaret’s’ idea of transcendentalism as in both instance it is through the mind that human beings create their own perceptions of the world. Margaret, in her book uses poems such as page 48 to bring out her transcendentalism ideas while in idealism Emerson’s states that poets are the best examples of idealism users for their ability to shape and spiritualize the world using their mental processes.


Fuller, M. (1844). Summer on the lakes, in 1843. C.C. Little and James Brown

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