English 250

Research Seminar: Transcendentalism


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2019 Tamarkin, Elisa
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 180 Barrows

Book List

Cavell, Stanley: Emerson's Transcendental Etudes; Cavell, Stanley: The Senses of Walden; Emerson, Ralph Waldo: The Portable Emerson; Hawthorne, Nathaniel: The Blithedale Romance; Higginson, Thomas Wentworth: Army Life in a Black Regiment; James, Henry: The Bostonians; Thoreau, Henry David: The Portable Thoreau; ed. Buell : The American Transcendentalists: Essential Writings

Description

This course considers Transcendentalism and its legacies with particular focus on the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson from the publication of Nature (1836) through Letters and Social Aims (1875).  Following Emerson's career in essays, lectures, and journals, we will examine his relationship across the nineteenth century to the intellectual and social history of the movement he defined.  What began in religious dissent from orthodoxies at Harvard became a program for reform and antislavery, for public intellectualism, for self-culture, and for new experiments in reading, writing, and living.  We’ll read Emerson beside major works by Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller, plus George Ripley on utopianism, Bronson Alcott on education, Orestes Brownson on the “laboring classes,” Theodore Parker on hermeneutics, and Jones Very on Transcendentalism as a poetic practice.  We’ll also read responses to Transcendentalism by Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, and Henry James.  Central to our discussions will be the movement’s engagement with German and British Romanticism (especially Kant, Schleiermacher, Herder, Strauss, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Carlyle) and, finally, the engagement of Nietzsche and others with Transcendentalism as an American answer to philosophical thinking.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2020

250/1

Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction

250/2

Research Seminar: Black Cultures of Gender and Sexuality

250/3

Research Seminar: Critique of Capitalism, or Reading Marx Now

fall, 2019

250/1

Research Seminar: The English Department

spring, 2019

250/1

Research Seminar: Philosophical Idealizations of Art and Modernist Practices

fall, 2018

250/3

Research Seminar: Textual Communities and the Modern

250/4

Research Seminar: Evolution and Literary Form, 1800-1900

spring, 2018

250/2

Research Seminar: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Representing in Eighteenth-Century English Fiction

250/3

Research Seminar: Milton and the English Civil War

250/4

Research Seminar: The Rhetoric of Technique

250/5

Research Seminar: Black Abstraction

fall, 2017

250/1

Research Seminar: Victorian Cultural Studies

250/2

Research Seminar: How to Write a Book

250/3

Research Seminar: Paranoid States: Empire and the Rise of the Surveillance State

250/4

Research Seminar: Gender, Sexuality, Modernism

spring, 2017

250/1

Research Seminar: Wordsworth and Coleridge in Collaboration

250/2

Research Seminar: Modernism in Poetry and in Art

250/3

Research Seminar: Idols and Ideology—Readings in Augustine, Milton, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Hobbes, Kant, Marx, Freud, Althusser


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