By Philip F. Gura
American Transcendentalism is a sweeping narrative historical past of America's first crew of public intellectuals, the boys and ladies who outlined American literature and indelibly marked American reform within the a long time prior to and following the yank Civil warfare. Philip F. Gura masterfully lines their highbrow family tree to transatlantic spiritual and philosophical principles, illustrating how those educated the fierce theological debates that, so frequently first in Massachusetts and finally all through the US, gave upward push to useful, own, and quixotic makes an attempt to enhance, even excellent the area. The transcendentalists might painfully bifurcate over what will be attained and the way, one part epitomized by means of Ralph Waldo Emerson and stressing self-reliant individualism, the opposite by way of Orestes Brownson, George Ripley, and Theodore Parker, emphasizing dedication to the bigger social good.
By the 1850s, transcendentalists grew to become ever extra solely to abolition, and by means of war's finish transcendentalism had develop into pointed out solely with Emersonian self-reliance, congruent with the nationwide ethos of political liberalism and industry capitalism.
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Additional info for American Transcendentalism: A History
In Paris he met the German naturalist and explorer Wilhelm von Humboldt, the thinker Benjamin consistent, and de Staël herself. He lower back to the us a similar 12 months as Ticknor to imagine his tasks at Harvard. From that place he motivated numerous scholars, a lot of whom sought him out to profit extra of German language and inspiration. Years later Emerson testified to this professor’s huge impression, looking at that “the genius of Everett” was once “almost corresponding to that of Pericles in Athens,” as even “the rudest undergraduate came across a brand new morning open to him” in Everett’s lecture corridor. 12 in the summertime of 1818 eighteen-year-old George Bancroft, later a fashionable Democratic baby-kisser and one of many country’s such a lot unusual historians, in Ticknor’s and Everett’s footsteps for research at Göttingen, with Frederic Henry Hedge, the twelve-year-old son of Harvard professor of good judgment Levi Hedge (with whom Bancroft had boarded), in tow. Everett had confident Harvard’s president Kirkland to supply Bancroft a stipend to review philology and biblical feedback, and soon after his arrival in Göttingen he enrolled in of Eichhorn’s classes, within the New testomony and Syriac. In a letter written in 1819 to Harvard’s personal biblical exegete, Andrews Norton, Bancroft supplied an excellent description of ways he spent his day on the nice German collage. “5 a. m. , Hebrew and Syriac,” he said; 7–8, [Arnold Hermann Ludwig] Heeren in Ethnography; 8–9, Church historical past through the elder [Gottleib Jakob] Planck; 9–10, Exegesis of the hot testomony by way of outdated Eichhorn; 10–11, Exegesis of the outdated testomony through outdated Eichhorn; 11–12, Syriac through previous Eichhorn; 12–1 p. m. , Dinner and stroll; 1–2 Library; 2–4, Latin or French; 4–5, Philological Encyclopedia through [Ludolph] Dissen; 5–7, Greek; 7–8, Syriac; 8–9, Tea and stroll; 9–11, Repetition of the previous lectures and instruction for the hot. thirteen It was once a rigorous agenda, yet Bancroft made striking scholarly growth and obtained his doctorate from the collage in 1820. in the mean time he additionally visited Berlin, the place for 5 months he took classes from that university’s uncommon school. He attended lectures below the popular thinker G. W. F. Hegel and in addition enrolled within the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher’s supplying at the philosophy of schooling, a memorable adventure that triggered him to report back to Kirkland that Schleiermacher delivered to his topic “a brain sharpened by way of philosophical meditation and enriched with the training of every age and nations. ” even if a lot in Bancroft’s schooling ready him for a occupation as a biblical student, early on he determined opposed to it, believing it harmful of actual spirituality. As a working example, he famous that exegetes like Eichhorn appeared little attracted to faith consistent with se. of their classes, Bancroft complained, “the bible is handled with little or no appreciate, and the narratives are laughed at as an previous wife’s story, healthy to be believed within the nursery. ”14 After his go back to the USA in 1823, Bancroft took Kirkland’s suggestion to begin a secondary college at the version of the German “gymnasium.