s (2001), published by Pennsylvania State University. All the essays are studied from the book, and all the written references to essays are made to this book.
۱.۴ Literature Review
Although many books are written about Emerson, his character and ideas are so vast that the researcher confined her study to limited texts related to his philosophy, mysticism, and poetry. Some parts of different books and very few articles prepared the needed knowledge for this study.
The mystical ideas that Emerson has in common with Persian mystics are explained in the book, Emerson and Persia by Mansour Ekhtiar. The book elaborates on the concepts common in Emerson’s philosophy and those of Persian mysticism. Accordingly, it was a source that was extremely helpful for understanding Emerson’s ideas, especially the three notions individuality, unity and microcosm which are discussed in this dissertation. Ekhtiar in this book, explains different notions like “Microcosm”, “Unity”, “the Negative existence of Evil”, and “Man’s Equation with God” according to Emerson and Persian mystics and then compare them with each other. One of the concepts that are studied in this thesis is “microcosm”. Ekhtiar recites Emerson to state this notion that everything holds the power of the entire universe, that each object is a microcosm of the universal truth of the world. Furthermore, he describes the meaning of “unity” as Emerson believes. In explaining this notion, he states that the dual aspects of things in the world are in fact, illusions. These dual concepts have the same truth, so there is unity among them and consequently, unity will be understood among all the concepts.
Another book that explained Emerson’s ideas was Four Great Teachers: John Ruskin, Thomas Carlyle, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Robert Browning written by Joseph Forster. Chapter four of the book is devoted to Emerson. It explained many of Emerson’s ideas and notions.
Leading American Essayists published in 1910 by William Morton Payne was another book that gave information about Emerson’s doctrines and notions. In the sixth part of the book Pane elaborates on Emerson’s spiritual ideas, especially that of ‘unity’.
In addition to the book mentioned in previous paragraphs, Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Estimate of His Character and Genius: In Prose and in Verse that was written by Amos Bronson Alcott prepared details on some themes in Emerson’s ideology as “power”, “unity”, “education”, “process” and etc. The explanations brought useful knowledge for the researcher to deepen her understanding of Emerson’s philosophy.
The book entitled A Historical Guide to Ralph Waldo Emerson edited by Joel Myerson contains historical essays about cultural, political, and social events related to Emerson. One of the essays in the book “The Age of First Person Singular: Emerson and Individualism”, written by Wesley T. Mott prepared useful information about Emerson’s ideas, especially the ones related to individuality and self in human being. The information perceived from this book is used in chapter two of this dissertation. The essay discusses individuality during the time. It states that Emerson’s God or ‘The Over-Soul’ is an immanent divinity which pervades the entire creation and also human, which is detectable by the human mind (mind in Emerson’s ideology is identical with the human soul). As Wesley Mott declares, Emerson’s “self-reliance” does not refer to one’s materialistic, egotistical self but to one’s higher principled moral self (75).Therefore, everyone makes a relation through intuition with ‘the Over-soul’. Mott quotes some lines from Emerson to explain the moment of mystical awareness not as a moment of “mean egotism” or romantic defiance but of one’s selflessness: “In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There, I feel that nothing can befall me in life– no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space. All mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball. I am nothing. I see all. The currents of the Universal being through me; I am part or particle of God” (Collected Works, 1: 54).
“Emersonian Self-Reliance in Theory and Practice” was one of the chapters of the book Emerson by Lawrence Buell that contained useful information related to what Emerson means by trusting to everyone’s self. Buell shows that Emerson’s individuality is not related to selfish character of each person but emphasizes on subjectivity of vision to find the truth of the world.
Emerson’s articles were the best sources in the study for understanding his philosophy. Most of the articles were included in two books, Essays, First Series and Essays: Second Series. Among the essays “The Over-Soul”, “Self-reliance”, “Nature”, and “Compensation” contained information more about the three concepts under study in this dissertation. Actually, most of the quotations are chosen from these articles.
The researcher studied many articles, but they were not helpful, although their topics showed similarity but very few articles on Emerson contained useful arguments about his philosophy, especially mystical views. Some of them like “Mr. Emerson and Transcendentalism”(۲۰۰۶) by William Batchelder Greene and “Emerson and Mysticism”(۲۰۰۴) written by Patrick F. Queen evaluated his ideas under the influence of Transcendentalism and Persian mysticism.
One of the books Master plots in eight volumes prepared explanations and analyses of many poems including Emerson’s by many different critics. The volumes provided the analysis of some of the poems of Emerson in this study.
The researcher found some relations between the writings of William Blake and Emerson. A dissertation entitled “William Blake’s American legacy: transcendentalism and visionary poetics in Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman” by Clare Frances Elliott explored the influence of William Blake on the American thinkers like Emerson and Whitman. It encouraged the researcher to study the similarities among these three artists as all of them wrote visionary poetry. The realm of “Visionary Art” considers the exploration of the truth of the world through individual understanding of every person. This view resembles Emerson’s notion of individuality as he believes the universal truth of the world should be explored through individual power of each person. Even it should be considered that the visionary artists look into the truth of the world through their intuition. In chapter three and four of this study there are some references to the poems of the visionary poets like Blake.
Emerson’s poems are selected from the book Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Poems (2004) that is published by the website “poemhunter.com” and the poem “Unity” also got from the same website are both primary sources of this thesis. The poems presented in chapter three and four include “Unity”, “The Sphinx”, “Brahma”, “Xenophanes”, “Woodnotes I, II”, “The World-Soul”, and “Each and all” that reflect Emerson’s notions of ‘unity’, ‘individuality’ and ‘microcosm’.
۱.۵ Material and Approach
Some notions and doctrines of Emerson have been used through this thesis which chapter two is devoted to defining them. Furthermore, the reason of choosing the concepts for the study will be presented.
In this study three concepts ‘unity’, ‘individuality’ and ‘microcosm’ are chosen from Emerson’s philosophy. The mentioned notions will be defined thoroughly in chapter two according to Emerson’s ideas. Then, in chapter three and four the notions are shown in the selected poems. The researcher tries to display the main idea of this dissertation throu
gh the three notions that is the united spirit of the world which is the true identity of everything. Although the concepts ‘individuality’ and ‘microcosm’ speak about the power of individual person to find the truth of the universe and also the presence of the universal soul in each creature but the researcher tries to reveal other idea through these two concepts and also the notion of ‘unity’. She finds the essence of this dissertation in the three concepts as it is shown in the poems that the united soul of the world is the real truth of everything. Consequently, the study reveals the main idea of the research through some of Emerson’s poems.
۱.۶. Thesis Outline
This thesis is conducted in five chapters to deal with some of Emerson poems in terms of Emerson’s notion of ‘unity’, ‘individuality’ and ‘microcosm’.
The first chapter under the title of Introduction gives a brief account of Emerson’s biography, and then it presents “Hypothesis”, “Significance of the Study”, “Purpose of the Study”, and “Research Questions”. It is followed by introducing literature and studies used in this thesis under the title of “Review of Literature”. Finally, “Material and Methodology” deals with the definition of key terms and notions which is followed by “Motivation and Delimitation”.
The second chapter entitled Emerson’s Philosophy is divided into three sections. The three selected concepts are thoroughly discussed in each part of this chapter.
The third chapter yields an analysis of the poems in terms of Emerson’s concept of “unity”. The notion draws a new image of man and the living beings in the world for the reader. Consequently, he is able to find a new identity for everything and also man and a broader and better view of life.
The fourth chapter analyzes the same poems by applying the other two notions ‘individuality’ and ‘microcosm’. The poems illustrate that each person should investigate the reality of the universe individually. Also, some poems reveal the presence of the universal soul in each entity. Man while learns that he can find the meaning of the universe through his personal relation to the eternal reality of the world and also in himself, he will make a new identity for himself that brings calmness and enriches his understanding. Furthermore, to know that the sum of the world is present in each substance makes everything sacred to human and he will be more eager to know himself and other creatures as the entities that contain the whole soul of the world inside.
The fifth chapter, entitled “Conclusion” gives a short summary of five chapters. It is followed by findings which are the answers to the raised questions of this thesis and also the foundations of the researches of this thesis. Then it suggests further ideas for future researchers.
۱.۵.۱. Definition of Key Terms
There are some Emersonian philosophical terms and other notions which have been used in this thesis frequently. Although in chapter two, they have been explained, a brief definition of them is given in the following section. The terms are “unity”, “individuality”, “microcosm”, “the Over-Soul”, “understanding and reason”, “duality and unity”.
Individuality: At first it should be mentioned that Emerson believes that ‘the Over-Soul’ is the truth of the world as it is the real essence of everything in the universe. Emerson holds