Study Help Practice Projects


1. You are the book reviewer for a major urban newspaper in 1836. You are assigned to write a review of a book titled Nature, by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Striving for objectivity, write a balanced review that expresses both the strengths and weaknesses of the book. (Alternatively, you are the same reviewer in 1854, assigned to write a review of Thoreau's Walden.)

2. You are a citizen of Concord, walking down Main Street in September 1846. You bump into Henry David Thoreau, whom you know only slightly. Curious about what he is doing at Walden Pond, you question him about his life there, and about the night he recently spent in jail. Record the dialogue that you have with him.

3. Consider the current emphasis on personal health and fitness as Emerson might have regarded it. Write an essay on the subject from Emerson's point of view. Alternatively, consider and write about the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon from an Emersonian point of view, or about the New Age Movement.

4. As a group project, construct a Web site that presents the major concepts of Transcendental philosophy and related topics through quotations from Emerson, Thoreau, and other Transcendental authors. Begin by determining the concepts and topics you will present. You might choose to include the Oversoul, correspondence, intuition ("reason" versus "understanding"), perfectability, self-reliance, nature, reform, religion, progress, science and scientists, and poets and poetry, among other topics.

The site should consist of a main page with links to separate pages for each topic or concept presented. The main page should include a summary definition of Transcendentalism, and each linked page a summary definition or brief discussion of the particular concept or topic presented.

Quotations from authors other than Emerson and Thoreau may be drawn from Perry Miller's The Transcendentalists: An Anthology, if separate editions are not readily available. The work of searching texts for appropriate quotations should be divided up among class members, either by topic or by author.

If possible, provide an appropriate photograph or illustration for the home page and for each linked page.