American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (Religion in by Arthur Versluis

By Arthur Versluis

The 1st significant learn because the Thirties of the connection among American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the 1st accomplished paintings to incorporate post-Civil conflict Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this booklet is encyclopedic in scope. starting with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the full background of yankee Transcendentalism into the 20 th century, and the profound impression of Orientalism at the movement--including its analogues and affects in global non secular discussion. He examines what he calls "positive Orientalism," which acknowledges the price and perennial truths in Asian religions and cultures, not just within the writings of significant figures like Thoreau and Emerson, but in addition in modern renowned magazines. Versluis's exploration of the effect of Transcendentalism at the twentieth-century examine of comparative religions has ramifications for the learn of non secular heritage, comparative faith, literature, politics, heritage, and artwork historical past.

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92 But the attraction was always a mixed one, as is made evident in a letter that Coleridge wrote to a friend: It is but seldom that I raise and spiritualise my intellect to this height; and at other times I adopt the Brahamanic creed. 93 But even in this apparently positive note—other writers have interpreted it as definitely positive94—there is irony in the conjunction of "this height," and sleeping "a million years or more," like some snoozing bear, half-waking now and then. "95 This ambiguity, it is no doubt fair to say—for it appears even in the same entry—is perhaps curious, but we must remember that these sentiments are in fact an echo of the times.

104 In any case, Shelley tended to share Coleridge's Janus-faced reaction to what he knew of Eastern mythology. 105 Here Shelley was manifesting the Romantic tendency to turn away from institutional religion, a tendency that was part of the Protestant inheritance and something that he shared with the Transcendentalists. But he like the Transcendentalists, also drew on the Eastern teachings and mythology with which he had had more substantive contact. Shelley began to learn about Eastern teachings and mythologies in 1809, when he read Southey's Thalaba and later The Curse of Kehama, about which he was inquiring before it was published, writing Stockdale on 2 December 1810: "When do you suppose Southey's Curse of Kehama will come out?

Sketches Chiefly Relating to the History, Religion, Learning and Manners of the Hindoos, 1792, 2 vols. Predecessors: The First Meetings of East and West 39 B. Picart, The Ceremonies and Religious Customs of the Various Nations of the Known World, 1741. John Richmond, A Dissertation on the Languages, Literature and Manners of Eastern Nations, 1778. Alexander Hamilton, A New Account of the East-Indies, 1727, 2 vols. 131 He had done considerable research, but nonetheless, these works represented only the first contacts of Europeans with Asian cultures, and hence—not least because until roughly the time of Emerson and Thoreau, there were few even remotely reliable books on the Orient and equally few translations available in Europe, much less in America—Priestley's work leaves something to be desired in the way of accuracy.

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