Transcendentalism in American Life

Winter 2016-2017


Eric Slauter

This course explores idealism and materialism in nineteenth-century American intellectual and cultural history, charting the growth of Transcendentalism as a revolt against contemporary American society as well as the effect of Transcendentalism on that society. We’ll examine the Americanization of British and Continental idealism, focusing on the reception of Coleridge, Carlyle, Goethe and others; the institutionalization of Transcendentalism around Emerson, including the creation of literary magazines, lecture series, and reform societies; the politics and ethics of Transcendentalism, focusing on Fuller and Thoreau; and the westward expansion of Transcendentalism, including the St. Louis Hegelians and the early writings of Dewey. (18th/19th)