Global Transcendentalism

Laura Dassow Walls

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

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

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Global Transcendentalism

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)



This article examines the courses of action taken by the Transcendentalists in the wake of globalization and how successful Transcendentalism was in becoming a global movement. Transcendentalists were self-conscious and enthusiastic participants in the global culture and commerce. They themselves saw their achievement in global, planetary, and even cosmic terms. The scientific discoveries that happened during that period helped them revise inherited dogmatisms into radically liberal and secular forms of religious thought. The article states that Transcendentalism was a movement that aimed at a global reach. They offered not a national but a global ideology. In Emerson's opinion, Transcendentalism would not only successfully interweave sources from all around the globe, across all historical time scales, it would also consolidate a project for “planetary conviviality” under the leadership of elite intellectuals. He also hoped that this international class would rise above the petty differences of nationalism to offer far-sighted guidance to global leaders.

Keywords: cosmopolitanism; globalization; modernism; global capitalism

Article.  5310 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

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