Difference Between Romanticism and Transcendentalism

Romanticism and Transcendentalism both are quite similar literary movements in nature and that makes people confuse between them. Romanticism movements and Transcendentalism movements were started in America in the year 1840 and 1860 of the late 18th century.

Romanticism vs Transcendentalism

The main difference between Romanticism and Transcendentalism is that Romanticism has not much emphasized God but when mentioned God is always known to be the external force. Whereas, Transcendentalism emphasized more on God and considers God as an internal light within the human body.

Romanticism vs Transcendentalism

Comparison Table Between Romanticism and Transcendentalism

Parameters of ComparisonRomanticismTranscendentalism
Style of WritingThe style of writing of Romanticism is including moral values, individualism, creativity, freedom, and emotions.The style of writing of Transcendentalism is based fully on the content of writing and not defined in a particular one or two types.
Highly DependenceRomanticism is highly dependent on observations collected from natural senses, feelings, and emotions.Transcendentalism is highly dependent on guidance from inner light and intuitions.
Start of Literary Movement Romanticism movement was born earlier in the 18th century and it was at final stage at the year 1840.The beginning of the Transcendentalism movement was started around 1834 and lasted till 1860 approximately.
ReligionRomanticism was not much dedicated with the ideas of God and hence religion was meant to be worked on a personal inner basis resulting in good or evil but not blindly following the same preconceived structure of religion.Transcendentalism was fully based on religion. They rejected religious dogma but believed that God’s presence is everywhere and hence God can found by intuition. 
ReactionsRomanticism was the reaction against outward appearances and objective reasoning.Transcendentalism was the reaction against religious traditions, beliefs and dogma which overpowered humans.
WritersNames behind Romanticism writing are Emily Dickinson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, and Walt Whitman.Names behind Transcendentalism writing are Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

What is Romanticism?

Romanticism or Romantic Era was known for artistic, literary, intellectual, and musical movement which was born in Europe which was initialized at the end of the 18th century.

Romanticism was worked out from 1800 to 1860 approximately. Romanticism was a reaction to the baised revolutions of industry, rationalization of science and even the concept of modernity.

The five characteristics of Romanticism are :

  1. Romanticism has an interest in the common man and childhood
  2. Romanticism has awe for nature
  3. Romanticism has strong feelings and emotions
  4. Romanticism celebrates individuals
  5. Romanticism has the importance of imagination

Famous writers in the genre of Romanticism:

  1. William Wordsworth
  2. Lord Byron
  3. John Keats
  4. William Blake
  5. Mary Shelley

What is Transcendentalism?

Transcendentalism was known as a philosophical movement that was initialized in the year 1820 and the year 1830.

Transcendentalism was known for inherited goodness of people and nature complimenting society and its religious structure with traditional values though rejecting traditional dogma.

Transcendentalism’s main motive was to enhance intuition over objective reasoning. Transcendentalism teaches that there is god’s presence everywhere and yet it should be given equal respect.

The five characteristics of Transcendentalism are:

  1. Transcendentalism believes in indwelling divinity in human souls
  2. Transcendentalism values the superiority of individuals over society
  3. Transcendentalism promotes thinking which is out of the box.
  4. Transcendentalism studies nature and count as inspiration for the development of one’s self.
  5. Transcendentalism shows confidence in-universe the and beliefs, whatever happens, is organic, welcoming, and inherently is good.

Famous writers in the genre of Transcendentalism:

  1. Louise May Alcott
  2. Elizabeth Peabody
  3. Frederic Henry Hedge
  4. William Ellery Channing
  5. Christopher Pearse Cranch

Main Differences Between Romanticism and Transcendentalism

  1. Romanticism was highly based on feelings, emotions, and introduced different emotions like anxiety, depression, etc. And hence Romanticism highlights patriotism, allegiance, and loyalties. Whereas, Transcendentalism highlights the power of nature, individualism, and divinity.
  2. Romanticism emphasizes emotion and feelings over personal and intellectual growth whereas Transcendentalism emphasizes inspirations beyond human perspective, normal traditions, and reasoning.
  3. Romanticism is doesn’t heavily emphasize God whereas Transcendentalism strongly emphasizes God, divinity, and believes in miracles.
  4. Romanticism indicated positivity whereas Transcendentalism indicates both good and evil as a part of personal growth.
  5. Romanticism was against outward appearances and objective reasoning and Transcendentalism was against religious traditions and dogmas.


Firstly, if we see both the terms: Romanticism and Transcendentalism it seems like they are the same. And they both were started in the same era of late 18th century and worked roughly till mid-end of 18th century itself.

Romanticism and Transcendentalism both are literary movements that took place in the 18th century.   In the majority of aspects, both Romanticism and Transcendentalism’s philosophies were similar. 

Both of them- Romanticism and Transcendentalism causes were quite similar.

Both movements- Romanticism movements and Transcendentalism movements were the result of strict traditions, law, and religious rules of that time which only serve political and religious benefits and not the development of a human being and its inner self.

Both of them- Romanticism and Transcendentalism encouraged individuals to go on the journey of self-growth and finding inner light in the sense of god’s divinity and accept the fact that miracles do happen.

Both of them motivated the journey of emotions like love, depression, anxiety, etc, and let that feel the human body.

Romanticism emphasized the god is internal light whereas transcendental emphasized that god’s the external force. Both of them taught to believe there is god, and God is the universe, and what ever you seek from the universe, you shall receive.

Romanticism and Transcendentalism also taught to find the purpose of one’s living, to meditate and find that inner light and then conduct a selection out of two choices which are accepted good in life or evil in life.

 Though both of the ways were different to make people understand what is god, its nature, beliefs, universe, and emotions, the one thing which was for sure was the development of personal growth mentally and emotionally.


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10509585.2014.926047
  2. http://scholar.dkyobobook.co.kr/searchDetail.laf?barcode=4010023577832
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