Albert J. von Frank

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 discusses the variety of religious thoughts that existed in society during and before the Transcendentalist period and the impact of such thoughts on the movement and its relation with them. The article puts a emphasis on Unitarianism as the movement had its roots in Transcendentalism. The Transcendentalists sympathized with their elders' modernizing revolt against surviving forms of Puritanism and may be said to have sustained that revolt ably throughout their first and second generations. Unitarian and Transcendentalist alike shared a conclusion that Calvinism was no proper guide for nineteenth-century Americans, who required a principle of progress in their religious views, room for effectual moral education, and scope for the advancement of the intellect. The article also discusses two significant parallel developments in American popular culture: spiritualism and “New Thought” philosophy as they emerged as extensions or caricatures of Transcendentalism.

Keywords: Unitarianism; Calvinism; Puritanism; spiritualism; New Thought” philosophy

Article.  9796 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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