Asian Influences

Alan Hodder

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Asian Influences

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This article states that Asian religious texts and traditions had the greatest impact on the American Transcendentalists. Their embrace of the Asian religious ideas was a corrective step to the centuries-long dominion of Christianity in the west. The commerce—both intellectual and material—that had linked Asia and Europe played a crucial role in it. The French and English agents began acquainting themselves with the cultures and languages of the areas. The flow of material profit soon led to an unsuspected intellectual windfall in the form of a host of texts and translations that shed new lights on the traditions of Asia. This eventually led to the English translation of Bhagavad Geeta, the introduction of Buddhism in the west, and so on. The article looks at the contributions of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Amos Bronson Alcott to the Asiatic influence on Transcendentalism.

Keywords: Beat movement; Bhagavad Geeta; renaissance; Sanskrit; Vedas

Article.  5517 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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