Hey there, would-be American Lit mongers! Is “transcendentalists” too much of a mouthful? Here’s what I tell people to help them picture who these mid 19th century whackadoos were.
Think of a Jedi: empowered by spiritual communion with a nebulous universal essence. Then, think of a hippie: an iconoclastic rebel who wants only to be at peace with all. Finally, add a Boy Scout: an innocent survivalist with unbounded reverence for nature.
That pretty much adds up to Emerson and Thoreau!