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Author: Philip F. Gura
ISBN13: 978-0809034772
Title: American Transcendentalism: A History
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Language: English
Category: Americas
Publisher: Hill and Wang; 1st edition (November 13, 2007)
Pages: 384

American Transcendentalism: A History by Philip F. Gura

American Transcendentalism By Philip F. Gura. in the 1830’s, the new ideas prompted a wash of excitement and of other new ideas. I am reminded of the music of the Beatles coming to the . Gura is the William Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Many readers have only a vague notion of what the Transcendentalist movement was about together with a notion that Emerson and Thoreau were at its center.

American Transcendentalism. A History Philip F. Gura New York: Hill and Wang, 2007. Philip Gura’s American Transcendentalism provides a valuable in-sight into a nineteenth-century leftist intellectual elite in the United States. This is of considerable interest because Transcendentalism was a movement entirely untouched by the predominantly Jewish milieu of the twentieth-century left in America.

Author: Donnelly, Donal. Download American transcendentalism : a history Philip F. leave here couple of words about this book: Tags: Chalkida. On this site it is impossible to download the book, read the book online or get the contents of a book. The administration of the site is not responsible for the content of the site. The data of catalog based on open source database. All rights are reserved by their owners. Download book American transcendentalism : a history, Philip F.

Other authors: See the other authors section. An indepth history and analysis of the complex and sometimes contradictory movement known as Transcendentalism. There are many echoes of today, showing the deep and ongoing influence of the thinkers and their thoughts in the politics and culture of our day. ( ) dasam Jun 21, 2018. In past decades I have read Emerson and about Emerson, about the Concord crowd, and about the early transendentalists. I haven't been reading much in that area recently, but I have tried to keep my faith alive by active participation in my local Unitarian Universalist church.

Concise yet panoramic, this highly readable and provocative history of American Transcendentalism is especially valuable for its charting of the striking variety of positions within a movement whose unfolding was considerably less dominated by the influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson, its most famous figure, than is generally believed.

American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill & Wang, 2007. Throughout the book, Gura also pays attention to lesser-known figures. A chapter entitled Varieties of Transcendentalism considers the role of several rela-tively unknown figures who participated in the move-ment, which had the effect of freeing them to work in various innovative ways (p. 207), intellectual, religious, literary, and political. For example, Gura presents Eliza Thayer Clapp, who taught young women for free in her home and published a book called Studies in Religion, as a remarkable example of lay Transcendentalism (p. 192), and he explores three significant literary works.

American Transcendentalism.

The First Comprehensive History of TranscendentalismAmerican Transcendentalism is a comprehensive narrative history of America's first group of public intellectuals, the men and women who defined American literature and indelibly marked American reform in the decades before and following the America Civil War. Philip F. Gura masterfully traces their intellectual genealogy to transatlantic religious and philosophical ideas, illustrating how these informed the fierce local theological debates that, so often first in Massachusetts and eventually throughout America, gave rise to practical, personal, and quixotic attempts to improve, even perfect the world. The transcendentalists would painfully bifurcate over what could be attained and how, one half epitomized by Ralph Waldo Emerson and stressing self-reliant individualism, the other by Orestes Brownson, George Ripley, and Theodore Parker, emphasizing commitment to the larger social good.By the 1850s, the uniquely American problem of slavery dissolved differences as transcendentalists turned ever more exclusively to abolition. Along with their early inheritance from European Romanticism, America's transcendentalists abandoned their interest in general humanitarian reform. By war's end, transcendentalism had become identified exclusively with Emersonian self-reliance, congruent with the national ethos of political liberalism and market capitalism.
Reviews: 7
Rich Vulture
This is in many ways an excellent book, really the best on the detailed background of many of the founders of Transcendentalism, putting them in their institutional settings (mostly theological). It does have an occasionally pedestrian style -- one gets tired of the potted biographies -- but as a reference book for the obscurer members of the sect and the early sources of its rise, it is very worthy. An immense amount of work went into it. What it really lacks (and why I didn't give it 5 stars) is a introduction that gives the reader a real philosophical grounding in Coleridge and the German philosophers. They are mentioned a lot, but we never really get a strong introduction to Kantianism and its successors, as well as the Coleridgean interpretation. This leaves the book a little "up-in-the-air". There is also a strange lack of a robust literary analysis. Nor is there much on the Oriental side of things (Thoreau, after all, translated a chunk of the Buddhist Lotus Sutra!). It is also curious that, in the summing up of the influence of Transcendentalists on subsequent generations, Louisa May Alcott doesn't even get a mention. But overall I learned a lot from this book -- particularly about the relationship between the individualist and activist side of Transcendentalism -- and will continue to refer to it in future.
A little more than a decade ago, professor Louis Menand gave us his brilliant history of American pragmatism, The Metaphysical Club. He discussed how American pragmatic thought was a reaction to what had been, a generation earlier, an unrealistic intellectual idealism and intolerance that witnessed profound expression in the Civil War. The "intellectual idealism" to which I am referring, and to which Menand refers, is neatly collected in this fantastic little book. Welcome to the world of American Transcendentalism.

Gura's book is very much in the same "history of ideas" genre as Menand's book. Here we're treated to a complete history of Transcendentalism in one volume, from its origins in German Unitarianism transplanted to New England through its most unbending expression in abolition. Gura skillfully presents the philosophical foundations and modifications of this important movement in a way that is both accessible and profound. We learn how the feeling of the United States as an exceptional political entity in the world, how our feeling of being both new AND outstanding in the world, made our intellectuals fertile ground for European idealism, particularly within the institutions most important to our young culture - churches and colleges.

German idealists proposed ideas that our great Unitarian thinkers, all of which you will learn about in this book, found attractive. The public intellectuals of the day - Thoreau, Emerson, Fuller - proposed and adopted these ideas in a way that they hoped would produce the New World utopia that European emigrants had hoped to find on another continent from the earliest settlement. Gura skillfully weaves together a web of philosophical concepts, intellectual history, and biography that creates a whole much greater than a sum of parts. This is no dry tome of people, places and things.

Here's the book that is the prequel to Menand's book, and should be considered a companion volume to it.
This book is a history of the American Transcendental Movement that focuses on those individuals who either participated in the movement or were otherwise associated with it. Professor Gura is rather less interested in the ideas and social context of the movement. This is strangely appropriate since the one constant among American transcendentalists was their belief in individualism. Unfortunately the reader is then left with the task of sorting out just what transcendentalism was and the social context in which it developed.

The American Transcendentalist Movement was quite small. It was limited almost entirely to a handful of liberal Unitarian clergyman. But the movement also included a couple of remarkable women, Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Peabody. Geographically it was principally confined to Massachusetts and to a lesser extent New England. Its most active period was from the early 1830's through 1850. Finally it was a religious not a philosophical movement. Its core premise was perhaps best expressed by George Ripley (1802-1880) when he argued that: man was..."conscious of an inward nature, which is the source of more important and comprehensive ideas than any which the external senses suggest." As applied to religion this concept give individual conscious precedence over everything else in matters of religion. This individualism gave the transcendentalist movement its unique character, but also prevented it from becoming a cohesive philosophy. Ralph Waldo Emerson its most famous member also presented the most radical ideas on the importance of the individual and inward revelation.

It has been argued by some scholars that the American Transcendental Movement was founded on a third hand misunderstanding of German idealism. This does not do justice to the movement. German Bible scholarship represented by the `new criticism' provided key insights for the principal proponents of transcendentalism. Further transcendentalist thought was influenced by early 18th Century American theologian Jonathan Edwards who argued that Grace was an internal transformative principle. Of course the transcendentalists also were greatly influenced by the works of the English scholar and historian Carlyle and the French philosopher Fourier who had their own understandings of German idealism. But, in the end it can be claimed that the transcendental movement was a uniquely American interpretation of the concepts originally set forth by Immanuel Kant one of the most important philosophers of any age. Even though Kant did not directly influence their thinking his powerful intellect is still clearly reflected in their works.
This book explains American Transcendentalism as an offshoot of European Romanticism and as grounded particularly in the Idealist philosophy of Kant. I read the book hoping that it would help me gain a firmer grasp on Emerson, which it did. But it proved far more useful than that, providing a detailed picture of American intellectual life in the first half of the nineteenth century. The book is deftly written and highly illuminating.