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پایان نامه رشته زبان انگلیسی: A Study of the Concepts ‘Unity’, ‘Individuality’ and ‘Microcosm’ in Emerson’s Selected Poems

پایان نامه رشته :زبان انگلیسی

عنوان :  A Study of the Concepts ‘Unity’, ‘Individuality’ and ‘Microcosm’ in Emerson’s Selected Poems



Central Tehran Branch

Faculty of Foreign languages-English Department


A Thesis Submitted in the Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degrees of Master of Arts in English Literature


 A Study of the Concepts ‘Unity’, ‘Individuality’ and ‘Microcosm’ in Emerson’s Selected Poems


Advisor :

Prof. Jalal Sokhanvar



Dr. Alireza Jafari






The present study is an analysis of some of the poems of the thinker and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson in the light of his own philosophy. The study investigates the poems in terms of Emerson’s concepts of ‘unity’, ‘individuality’ and ‘microcosm’. Actually, this study explores a new identity for the human being and other creatures in the world; the new identity that gives a broader view of the universe, God and man. Through the analysis of the poems in light of the notion of ‘unity’, it is discussed that the reality of the creatures of the universe is one essence that is ‘the Over-Soul’. Moreover, it is explained that there is interrelation among the objects of the world and also a connection between each creature and ‘the universal soul’ that Emerson names ‘the Over-Soul’. The poems also illustrate another concept i.e., ‘individuality’. It states that each person should make a personal relation to ‘the universal soul’ and finds the meaning of life and the reality of everything individually. Consequently, everyone through this relation realizes that ‘the Over-Soul’ is the essence of everything. Also, the poems reveal that the entire world is present in each creature and especially man, what Emerson names “microcosm”. Finally, the concepts through the poems bring a new identity to everything in the world as they have the overtone of the united spirit of the world or ‘the Over-Soul’ as the true identity of everything. This novel view toward everything and especially that of the human being helps him to have a broader and deeper view of life.


Table of Contents



Chapter One: Introduction6

۱.۱. General Background7

۱.۲. Statement of the Problem9

۱.۳. Objectives and Significance of the study9

۱.۳.۱. Hypothesis10

۱.۳.۲. Significance of the Study.10

۱.۳.۳. Purpose of the Study 11

۱.۳.۴. Research Questions11

۱.۴. Review of Literature12

۱.۵. Materials and Methodology.16

۱.۵.۱. Definition of Key Terms16

۱.۵.۲. Motivation and Delimitation19

۱.۶. Thesis Outline20

Chapter Two: Emerson’s Philosophy.22

۲.۱. Emerson’s Philosophy.23

۲.۱.۱. Unity in Emerson’s philosophy25

۲.۱.۲. Individuality in Emerson’s philosophy. 32

۲.۱.۳. Microcosm in Emerson’s philosophy.38

Chapter Three: New Identity in Emerson’s Selected Poems.45

۳.۱. Unity in Emerson’s Philosophy.47

۳.۱.۱. Unity in “Each and All”.۴۷

۳.۱.۱.۱. The Relation of Each and All to shape a unity.48

۳.۱.۱.۲. Interrelatedness of all Things in the World 48

۳.۱.۱.۳. To find the Truth through Beauty52

۳.۱.۱.۴. Man is the Universal Reality.53

۳.۱.۱.۵. The Foundation of a united Spirit54

۳.۲.۲. Unity in “The Sphinx”۵۵

۳.۲.۲.۱. Variety leads to Unity56

۳.۲.۲.۲. Exploration of Universal truth through Intuition58

۳.۲.۲.۳. Man is the answer to the question.59

۳.۲.۲.۴. Opposite notions find the same essence61

۳.۲.۳. Unity in “Xenophanes”۶۲

۳.۲.۳.۱. Variety Resolves into Unity63

۳.۲.۳.۲. Each Element Introduces another One64

۳.۲.۴. Unity in “Brahma”۶۶

۳.۲.۴.۱. All Things as One Reality.68

۳.۲.۵. Unity in “Wood-notes I, II”۷۰

۳.۲.۵.۱. The Existence of Universal Truth Everywhere.70

۳.۲.۶. Unity in “The World-Soul” .۷۳

۳.۲.۷. Unity in “Unity”.۷۶

Chapter Four: New Identity in Emerson’s Selected Poems .81

۴.۱. Individuality in Emerson’s Philosophy.82

  1. ۲. Individuality in “The Sphinx”۸۳

۴.۲.۱. The Answer is the Universal Reality84

۴.۲. ۲. “Man is a Transparent Eyeball”۸۵

۴.۲.۳. Individuality in “Each and All”۸۶

۴.۲. ۴. Man should Leave Egotism .86

۴.۳. Individuality in “Brahma”۸۸

۴.۳.۱. “Turn Thy back on Heaven”۸۸

۴.۳.۴. Individuality in “Unity”۸۸

۴.۳.۵. Individuality in “The World-Soul”.۹۰

۴.۴. Microcosm in Emerson’s Philosophy91

۴.۴.۱. Microcosm in “Wood-notes”۹۱

۴.۴.۱. ۱. Everything will be discovered in Man 91

۴.۳.۲. Microcosm in the Sphinx.94

Chapter Five100

۵.۱. Summing Up101

۵.۲. Findings.103

۵.۳. Suggestions for Further Research112

Work Cited..115

Work Consulted.118

Electronic Texts.119

Chapter One


۱.۱. General Background

Lecturer and writer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, was the intellectual center of American Transcendentalism and one of the great thinkers and writers of American literary history. As a prolific writer and thinker in religious, literary and social subjects, Emerson embodied the Transcendentalist movement’s self-reliance and originality of understanding that in this study is referred to as individuality. Emerson spent a considerable amount of time reading about prominent figures but ultimately he defined his own ideas and philosophy.

Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 25 1803, the fourth child of Ruth Haskins and the Reverend William Emerson. They had four more children after Waldo, although three of the children died in childhood. His mother was a religious woman who read and contemplated her spiritual life on a daily basis. She taught him the importance of religion as a personal and immanent experience but Emerson’s father took a more formal theological approach to religion as a Unitarian minister. Waldo, as he was called, came from a long line of New England ministers and his father who was a liberal clergyman had already rejected the Puritanism of their ancestors. Father died when Emerson was eight years old and the children were raised by their mother and the eccentric and well-read parental aunt Mary Moody Emerson that seems to have the early influence on Emerson’s intellectual and religious development. After graduation from Harvard University, he was ordained as a pastor in Boston but resigned his pastorship in1832, due to his skeptical views on the nature of sacraments which he witnessed to be used as the means of material and secular success. Although, the crisis of his wife’s death (1831) of tuberculosis after less than two years of marriage is probably one of the forces to leave his job. The break with the church began from this time and he attended Transcendentalism to establish his personal conviction over church tradition. He wrote many articles, poems, books, and gave many lectures, but he is more famous for his essays more than for his poems. He is a brilliant thinker in the world and especially in America that brought new ideas to the culture of his country. Moreover, it should be noted that he made the west familiar with Eastern thought through his writings and lectures. Emerson died on April 27, 1882. The headlines immediately after his death read, “Concord’s Irreparable Loss!” but the town and the nation, as well as students and philosophers and poets since, have kept Emerson alive.

Emerson’s first book Nature (1836) formulates and expresses the philosophy of the transcendentalism. Following this work, he gave a speech entitled “The American Scholar” in 1837. Emerson spoke about two major points in this address: to free American culture from its European past, and to free the individual American thinker from the bounds of society and tradition. After that, he presented many other lectures, one of the most notable ones “The Divinity School Address” (۱۸۳۸) questioned the very foundations of Christian belief, the divinity of Christ, the role of the ministry and the necessity and desirability of theological education. This speech brought many harsh criticisms on Emerson. It should be mentioned that most of his essays are lectures that are printed as books. The first two collections of essays, Essays: First Series and Essays: Second Series published in 1841 and 1844 that include well-known essays as “Self–Reliance” (۱۸۴۱), “The Over–Soul” (۱۸۴۱), “Circles” (۱۸۴۱), “The Poet” (۱۸۴۴) and “Experience” (۱۸۴۴). “The Over-Soul” and “Self-Reliance” are two essays that express Emerson’s ideas of ‘unity’, ‘individuality’ and ‘self-culture’. The first essay expresses a universal presence of identity or unity which is the truth of everything in the universe, and the next one that emphasizes the reliance on self instead of history and book. Emerson primarily considered himself as a poet, although he is less recognized as such. For Emerson, the poet is defined in the broadest sense that includes his prose and also his lecturing. In his idea a poet is a philosopher that understands and reinterprets the world for others (Wayne, Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism 100). He published more than two dozen poems in the Dial and was encouraged to publish his first collection of Poems (1846), followed by Mayday and Other Series (1867) and Selected Poems (1876). He later gathered together his own collection of favorite poems and verses by other people in Parnassus (1874). Emerson’s poems offer many of the Transcendentalist themes that was to be found in Emerson’s preceding collections, Essays: First Series (1841) and Essays: Second Series and also his lectures. The poems establish Emerson as a poet-philosopher breaking free of genre and theme. His poems dealt with spiritual, but not religious, themes. Fuller ranked Emerson as a poet, high “in the melody, in subtle beauty of thought and expression” (qtd. in Wayne, Critical Companion to Emerson 215).

تعداد صفحه : ۱۱۶
قیمت : ۱۴۷۰۰ تومان

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