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The American Transcendentalists: Their Prose and Poetry
The American Transcendentalists Their Prose and Poetry Author:Perry Miller The established religion in New England in the 1890's - the decade when Transcendentalism flourished - was Unitarianism, a religion that epitomized rationalism, "liberalism," and the cult of social conformity. It was in its vehement rejection of these Unitarian values that Transcendentalism began and became the most extensive and energetic upsur... more »ge of the mind and spirit in America until the 1920's.
Sustained by the minds and hearts of such writers as Emerson, Thoreau, William Ellery Channing, Orestes Brownson, Margaret Fuller and Bronson Alcott, who are among the authors represented by Perry Miller in this anthology, and invigorated by the works of such Europeans as Wordsworth, Coleridge, carlyle, and Goethe, Transcendentalism became a religion in itself - pasionate, radical, and, in the estimation of its opponents, subversive.
Conventionally Transcendentalism has been viewed by historians as idyll - a pastoral moment, benign and faintly eccentric, in America's past. One aim of this anthology is to challenge and replace this view with evidence that Transcendentalism was less idyllic by far than we have supposed: that instead it confronted the orthodox conformity with vigorous and passionate rebellion - the first of a succession of revolts by youthful Americans against the complacency and Philistinism of their elders.« less