Transcendentalism

Building on the writings of German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who was the first to define a specific process of reasoning as "transcendental," a group of 19th century American authors -- mainly from the Boston and Concord, MA, area -- defined what was to become a (to many even: the) seminal school of American philosophical and political thought; built on a new awareness of nature on the one hand, and notions of nonviolence, equal rights (including the abolition of slavery) and the individual's self-reliance on the other hand. While arguably the movement's most prominent figures were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Amos Bronson Alcott (the father of Louisa May Alcott), Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, transcendentalist thought actually reached far beyond their circle. Moreover, a number of writers who didn't consider themselves transcendentalists as such, nevertheless were friendly with representatives of the movement and were, to a certain extent, influenced by transcendentalist philosophy (most prominently, Nathaniel Hawthorne -- who also lived in Concord, MA -- as well as poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and abolitionist Frederick Douglass).

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Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Thom (new)

Thom Dunn You might add for background, The Flowering of New England, by Van Wyck Brooks. I would, but I don't know how.

What a magnificent idea, this list ! Thank you so much, LOL Thom.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Thanks in turn, Thom! I looked up the ISBN no. of "The Flowering of New England" and added it accordingly.


Amelia, free market Puritan I'm not really sure why Nathaniel Hawthorne's books are included on this list. He was somewhat critical of the transcendentalist movement, and I don't believe he would have considered himself a part of it...?


message 4: by Destiny (new)

Destiny Amelia, the pragmatic idealist wrote: "I'm not really sure why Nathaniel Hawthorne's books are included on this list. He was somewhat critical of the transcendentalist movement, and I don't believe he would have considered himself a par..."

That is the same thing I was thinking Amelia.


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