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- KurzbeschreibungTranscendentalism was the first major intellectual movement in U.S. history, championing the inherent divinity of each individual, as well as the value of collective social action. In the mid-nineteenth century, the movement took off, changing how Americans thought about religion, literature, the natural world, class distinctions, the role of women, and the existence of slavery.<br>Edited by the eminent scholar Lawrence Buell, this comprehensive anthology contains the essential writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and their fellow visionaries. There are also reflections on the movement by Charles Dickens, Henry James, Walt Whitman, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. This remarkable volume introduces the radical innovations of a brilliant group of thinkers whose impact on religious thought, social reform, philosophy, and literature continues to reverberate in the twenty-first century.
- AutorLawrence Buell
- HerausgaberLawrence Buell
- SerieModern Library
- VerlagRandom House LCC US
- Seiten608 Seiten
- Gewicht440 g
- Leseprobe1.<br>Mary Moody Emerson<br>Letters to a Future Transcendentalist<br>(1817--51)<br>Mary Moody Emerson (1774-1863) was Ralph Waldo Emerson's aunt and first mentor. She was a striking figure in her own right. She impressed all who came into contact with her--which included most of the Transcendentalist circle--with her unsystematic brilliance, her spiritual intensity, her biting wit, and her eccentric force. The younger sister of Emerson's father, she became the family matriarch after his early death. She had high hopes that Ralph Waldo would distinguish himself in the ministerial career that the men in his family had pursued for six unbroken generations back to colonial times. She wound up driving him toward Transcendentalism even as she tried to warn him away.<br>The many letters she sent him over more than forty years display her unique talents. They led Emerson, astonishingly, to praise her as one of the great prose stylists of her day, although she wrote almost nothing for publication. Both of them relished their correspondence. Many of Mary Emerson's turns of thought and even her turns of phrase resurface in his own later essays. They took a similar delight in the natural world, in ranging widely through Asian as well as western thought and literature, in moral and spiritual inquiry, and in a headlong free-associative style of thought and expression.<br>Here are a dozen passages from Mary's letters to her nephew, starting with a comically extravagant letter of congratulation upon the start of his freshman year at Harvard at the tender but then typical age of fourteen. Often she responds pointedly to his own letters and compositions, from a juvenile proposal for "reform" of drama through high-minded literary criticism (item 4) to major work like his 1838 Divinity School Address (item 11), which took her aback, as it did most of his elders. Mary's oblique reflection on the controversy, her fable of Urah, may have suggested Emerson's poem "Uriel" (see Section V-B below).<br>Too conservative to approve of Waldo's Transcendental turn, Mary Emerson nonetheless helped set him--and the movement--on the way. But no matter how famous he became, she never ceased to admonish him when she thought he deserved it. Her charge that wealth was a topic unworthy of him (item 12) is a prime example.<br>SOURCE: The Selected Letters of Mary Moody Emerson, ed. Nancy Craig Simmons. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993. Spelling as well as punctuation of these letters have been partially normalized for the sake of readability.<br>(1)<br>What dull Prosaic Muse would venture from the humble dell of an unlettered district, to address a son of Harvard? . .
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