Essential Transcendentalists

Overview

Interest abounds in the work of the Transcendentalists, such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott. Each year, tens of thousands of readers rediscover Transcendental thought in books and articles, and in visits to historic sites, such as Walden Pond. But few appreciate the truly mystical and contemplative qualities of the Transcendentalists, and the spiritual movements and figures they have since inspired.  

As Richard G. Geldard-one of today's leading scholars of ...

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Essential Transcendentalists

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Overview

Interest abounds in the work of the Transcendentalists, such as Emerson, Thoreau, and Bronson Alcott. Each year, tens of thousands of readers rediscover Transcendental thought in books and articles, and in visits to historic sites, such as Walden Pond. But few appreciate the truly mystical and contemplative qualities of the Transcendentalists, and the spiritual movements and figures they have since inspired.  

As Richard G. Geldard-one of today's leading scholars of Emerson-illustrates in The Essential Transcendentalists, Transcendentalism adds up to a school of practical spiritual philosophy that aims to guide the individual toward inner development, much like that of Stoicism in Western antiquity. This current of New England mysticism has influenced modern-day luminaries as diverse as essayist Annie Dillard and Ernest Holmes, founder of the worldwide Religious Science movement.  

Through revealing commentary, historical overview, and selections from classic works, The Essential Transcendentalists provides a distinctive and heretofore neglected examination of the spiritual breadth and depth of "Yankee mysticism."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Transcendentalism-a.k.a. New England Transcendentalism because of the birthplace of its major participants-was an American political, spiritual, philosophical, and literary movement of the early 19th century that attempted to "transcend" the "mysteries of existence and being" and drew on the thinking of such great writers, poets, dramatists, and philosophers as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Blake, and Immanuel Kant. This study, edited by Emerson scholar Geldard (dramatic literature & classics, Stanford Univ.) is divided into three main sections, each preceded by helpful explanatory introductions. The first is "Primary Texts," with selections from the writings of Sampson Reed, James Marsh, Amos Alcott (father of Louisa May), and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The second, "Individual Voices," introduces selections from Frederic Hedge, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau. The last is "The Transcendental Heritage," which features the works of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, Loren Eiseley, and Annie Dillard. This is a highly informed, elegantly written, fascinating story told through commentary, historical overview, and selections from classic works. It belongs in all libraries.-Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Management Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585424344
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/6/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 955,073
  • Product dimensions: 5.58 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard G. Geldard is one of the founders of www.rwe.org, the major Emerson Internet presence.

 

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Table of Contents

I Primary Texts
Introduction to the Primary Texts 3
Sampson Reed 29
Observations on the Growth of the Mind 30
James Marsh 33
Preface to Aids to Reflection 34
Amos Bronson Alcott, Early Journals 38
"Orphic Sayings" 41
Preface to Conversations with Children 45
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature, Introduction 50
Nature, Chapter 1 52
II Individual Voices
Introduction to Individual Voices 59
Ralph Waldo Emerson 103
"The Transcendentalist" 104
"Circles" 125
Frederic Henry Hedge 140
"Questionings" 141
Amos Bronson Alcott, Journal Entries, 1837 143
Margaret Fuller, "Flaxman" 156
"The Sacred Marriage" 157
"The Great Lawsuit" 158
Henry David Thoreau, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For," from Walden 165
"Civil Disobedience" 198
III The Transcendental Heritage
Introduction to the Transcendental Heritage 231
Movements and Institutions 234
Solitary Voices 237
Walt Whitman 238
Emily Dickinson 241
Wallace Stevens 244
The Nature Writers 251
Loren Eiseley 251
Annie Dillard 254
Notes 257
Selected Bibliography 259
Index 261
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