American Transcendentalism

A History

Philip F. Gura

Hill and Wang

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American Transcendentalism is a sweeping 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 American Civil War. Philip F. Gura masterfully traces their intellectual genealogy to transatlantic religious and philosophical ideas, illustrating how these informed the fierce 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, transcendentalists turned ever more exclusively to abolition, and by war’s end transcendentalism had become identified exclusively with Emersonian self-reliance, congruent with the national ethos of political liberalism and market capitalism.

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Reviews

Praise for American Transcendentalism

NOMINATED FOR THE 2008 NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
 
“The best collective biography on the group published in modern times.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
 
“A perfect companion to Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club.” —Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Philip F. Gura

Philip F. Gura is William S. Newman Distinguished Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he holds appointments in English, American studies, and religious studies.

Philip F. Gura

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American Transcendentalism
A History
Philip F. Gura

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National Book Critics Circle Awards - Nominee

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
September 2008
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780809016440
ISBN10: 0809016443
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 384 pages, Includes 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations, Notes, and an Index
$16.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hill and Wang
September 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429922883
ISBN10: 1429922885
384 pages, Includes 8 Pages of Black-and-White Illustrations, Notes, and an Index
$9.99
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Hill and Wang

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