Frank Shuffelton

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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This article narrates how Transcendentalism and Puritanism, despite basic differences, are literally related. Transcendentalism was a New England phenomenon and Puritanism had deeply laid foundations there. The article explains the arguments of the Transcendentalists and Puritans and how they differed in their opinions on the similarity of both the “isms.” There were differences among Transcendentalists itself on the matter. Subjects such as the concept of God, the meaning of life and the morality of man were thoroughly defined and redefined. Though the Puritan doctrines did not hold appeal for long, the spirit of the Puritan ancestors was everywhere in New England. For the Puritans, who in other respects held very conventional notions of gender roles, saving grace was a great equalizer. The most deeply felt link between the Puritans and Transcendentalists might be less in the beliefs themselves than in the ways in which they lived out their beliefs as saints and prophets.

Keywords: Puritanism; jeremiad; Unitarian; theologian; Calvinist

Article.  6148 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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