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Consciousness and CultureEmerson and Thoreau Reviewed$
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Joel Porte

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300104462

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300104462.001.0001

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Transcendental Antics

Transcendental Antics

(p.11) Two Transcendental Antics
Consciousness and Culture

Joel Porte

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the involvement of Ralph Waldo Emerson in the Transcendentalism movement in the U.S. It highlights the susceptibility of Transcendentalism to comic criticism from the outside and discusses the connection between the seriocomic religious fervor of transcendental reform and the passionate wave of religious revival which characterized American religion at large during the first half of the nineteenth century. It also suggests that while the comedy of Transcendentalism has often been represented as little more than a merely parochial humorous outburst, it was the kind of inevitable comedy that arises from the tensions of a deeply serious human debate.

Keywords:   Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism, comic criticism, American religion, transcendental reform, human debate, comedy

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