• 1) "The ideas of transcendentalism were most eloquently expressed by Ralph Waldo Emerson in such essays as “Nature” (1836), “Self-Reliance,” and “The Over-Soul” (both 1841), and by Henry David Thoreau in his book Walden (1854). " Source: 2) "Transcendentalism was a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture, and philosophy that emerged in New England in the early to middle 19th century. It is sometimes called American Transcendentalism to distinguish it from other uses of the word transcendental. Transcendentalism began as a protest against the general state of culture and society at the time, and in particular, the state of intellectualism at Harvard and the doctrine of the Unitarian church which was taught at Harvard Divinity School. Among Transcendentalists' core beliefs was an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through the individual's intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religions. Prominent Transcendentalists included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, as well as Bronson Alcott, Orestes Brownson, William Ellery Channing, Frederick Henry Hedge, Theodore Parker, George Putnam, Elizabeth Peabody, and Sophia Peabody, the wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne. For a time, Peabody and Hawthorne lived at the Brook Farm Transcendentalist utopian commune." "Transcendentalism was rooted in the transcendental philosophy of Immanuel Kant (and of German Idealism more generally), which the New England intellectuals of the early 19th century embraced as an alternative to the Lockean "sensualism" of their fathers and of the Unitarian church, finding this alternative in Vedic thought, German idealism, and English Romanticism. The Transcendentalists desired to ground their religion and philosophy in transcendental principles: principles not based on, or falsifiable by, sensuous experience, but deriving from the inner, spiritual or mental essence of the human. Immanuel Kant had called "all knowledge transcendental which is concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects." The Transcendentalists were largely unacquainted with German philosophy in the original, and relied primarily on the writings of Thomas Carlyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Victor Cousin, Germaine de Staël, and other English and French commentators for their knowledge of it. In contrast, they were intimately familiar with the English Romantics, and the Transcendental movement may be partially described as a slightly later, American outgrowth of Romanticism. Another major influence was the mystical spiritualism of Emanuel Swedenborg." Source and further information: Further information: 3) Here a text about transcendental literature in a totally different context: "This is the process for writing transcendental literature. A sentimentalist who has no Vaisnava qualifications cannot produce transcendental writings. There are many fools who consider krsna-lila to be a subject of art and write or paint pictures about the pastimes of Lord Krsna with the gopis, sometimes depicting them in a manner practically obscene. These fools take pleasure in material sense gratification, but one who wants to make advancement in spiritual life must scrupulously avoid their literature. Unless one is a servant of Krsna and the Vaisnavas, as Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami presents himself to be in offering respects to Lord Caitanya, His associates and His disciples, one should not attempt to write transcendental literature." Source: Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila, 9:4 Further information:
  • Likely right there in your class notes, no? Or didja miss that day?! ;-)

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