The Transcendentalists: An Anthology

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Harvard University Press, 1950 - Literary Criticism - 521 pages
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The late Perry Miller once stated, ‚eoeI have been compelled to insist that the mind of man is the basic factor in human history,‚e and his study of the mind in America has shaped the thought of three decades of scholars. The fifteen essays here collected‚e"several of them previously unpublished‚e"address themselves to the facets of the American consciousness and to their expression in literature from the time of the Cambridge Agreement to the Nobel Prize acceptance speeches of Hemingway and Faulkner. A companion volume to Errand into the Wilderness, its general theme is one adumbrated in Miller‚e(tm)s two-volume masterpiece, The New England Mind‚e"the thrust of civilization into the vast, empty continent and its effect upon Americans‚e(tm) concept of themselves as ‚eoenature‚e(tm)s nation.‚e

The essays first concentrate on Puritan covenant theology and its gradual adaptation to changing condition in America: the decline in zeal for a ‚eoeBible commonwealth,‚e the growth of trade and industry, and the necessity for coexisting with large masses of unchurched people. As the book progresses, the emphasis shifts from religion to the philosophy of nature to the development of an original literature, although Miller is usually analyzing simultaneously all three aspects of the American quest for self-identity. In the final essays, he shows how the forces that molded the self-conscious articulateness of the early New Englanders still operate in the work of contemporary American writers.

 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
Philosophical
7
Forerunners
16
Edward Everett
26
James Marsh
34
Emergence
49
George Ripley
59
George Ripley
65
George Ripley
258
Jesus Christ the Same Yesterday Today and Forever
284
George Ripley
294
Amos Bronson Alcott
303
Theodore Parker
315
Henry D Thoreau
324
Literary and Critical
331
Jones Very
341

Frederic Henry Hedge
72
James Walker
82
George Ripley
89
George Ripley
99
A Annus Mirabilis
106
William Henry Furness
124
Discourses on the Philosophy of Religion
132
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody
140
Amos Bronson Alcott
150
z Miracles
157
James Freeman Clarke
168
Francis Bowen
177
ij Orestes A Brownson
183
Ralph Waldo Emerson
192
James Freeman Clarke Christopher Pearse Cranch
200
Manifestoes
247
Margaret Fuller
366
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody
372
William Ellery Channing
381
The Garden
391
Margaret Fuller
402
John Sullivan Dwight
410
Political and Social
422
Orestes A Brownson
431
Bibliography
434
William Henry Channing
446
Margaret Fuller
457
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody
464
Frederic Henry Hedge
471
IO Recollections
484
Copyright

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About the author (1950)

Born and educated in Chicago, Perry Miller received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1931. From that year until his death, he taught at Harvard University. Working with such source materials as diaries and letters, he studed the literature and culture of New England in the colonial and early national eras. His books, and especially his most popular work, The New England Mind (1939--53), radically altered the old stereotypical view of Puritan life as dreary and uninvolved with worldly matters and did much to create renewed interest in the Puritanism of early New England. As Granville Hicks wrote, "He respected the Puritans as thinkers, and he regarded them more highly than he did their successors who moderated their teachings" (Saturday Review). A professor of American literature, Miller wrote critical essays and compiled anthologies of early American poetry and prose. One work, The Life of the Mind in America, published posthumously in 1965, won the 1966 Pulitzer Prize in history. All of Miller's works were informed by a keen sense of history and reminded students of American civilization of how much the Puritans and the Transcendentalists shaped the national culture.

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