Emerson and Neo-Confucianism: Crossing Paths over the Pacific

Overview

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Nature, "The moral law lies at the centre of nature and radiates to the circumference." The great Chinese synthesizer of Neo-Confucian philosophy Zhu Xi expressed a similar idea in the twelfth century: "In the realm of Heaven and Earth it is this moral principle alone that flows everywhere." Though living in different ages and cultures, these two thinkers have uncanny overlap in their work. A comparative investigation of Emerson's Transcendental thought and Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism, ...

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Emerson and Neo-Confucianism: Crossing Paths over the Pacific

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Overview

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in Nature, "The moral law lies at the centre of nature and radiates to the circumference." The great Chinese synthesizer of Neo-Confucian philosophy Zhu Xi expressed a similar idea in the twelfth century: "In the realm of Heaven and Earth it is this moral principle alone that flows everywhere." Though living in different ages and cultures, these two thinkers have uncanny overlap in their work. A comparative investigation of Emerson's Transcendental thought and Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism, this book shows how both thinkers traced the human morality to the same source in the ultimately moral nature of the universe and developed theories of the interrelation of universal law and the human mind.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Yoshio Takanashi's excellent comparative study of Emerson and Zhu Xi, the central philosopher of Neo-Confucianism, illuminates the relationship between American Transcendentalism and Asian philosophical traditions. Emerson's influence in Japan arose from the neo-Confucian attributes of his work, which share much with Zhu Xi's concepts of moral sincerity and self-development. Takanashi cogently explains their shared recognition of the interplay of 'cosmic law and human ethics,' and substantiates the growing appreciation of Emerson as an ethical and social philosopher." - David M. Robinson, Distinguished Professor of American Literature, Oregon State University, USA and author of Emerson and the Conduct of Life and Natural Life: Thoreau's Worldly Transcendentalism
 
"Emerson has long been known for his assimilation of the Hindu and Confucian traditions of spiritual wisdom. But Yoshio Takanashi offers new insight with this in-depth study of Emerson's affinity with Neo-Confucian Zhu Xi, discovering their kindred readings of the ethical self as well as natural universe across time and culture. It is exciting to see contemporary scholars catching up with writers of the past in tracing such paths across the Pacific." - Phyllis Cole, Past President of Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and Professor of English, Women's Studies, and American Studies, Penn State Brandywine, USA
 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137332929
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 2/20/2014
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Yoshio Takanashi is Professor of English and American Literature and Culture at Nagano Prefectural College, Japan. His articles have appeared in numerous jourbanals, including ESQ: A Jourbanal of the American Renaissance and The Japanese Jourbanal of American Studies. He has also published a Japanese translation of Stephen E. Whicher's Freedom and Fate: An Inner Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Lawrence Buell
1. Neo-Confucianism, Japan, and 'Nature is Principle': Foundations for a Comparison of Emerson and Zhu Xi
2. The Fundamental Principle and the Generation of the Universe
3. Cosmic Law and Human Ethics
4. Realization of the Self Conclusion

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