Ex oriente lux: American Transcendentalism and the Orient.

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dc.contributor.author Versluis, Arthur James en_US
dc.contributor.advisor McIntosh, James en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2014-02-24T16:20:38Z
dc.date.available 2014-02-24T16:20:38Z
dc.date.issued 1990 en_US
dc.identifier.other (UMI)AAI9034535 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://gateway.proquest.com/openurl?url_ver=Z39.88-2004&rft_val_fmt=info:ofi/fmt:kev:mtx:dissertation&res_dat=xri:pqm&rft_dat=xri:pqdiss:9034535 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2027.42/104316
dc.description.abstract The dissertation consists of six major sections, the first of which is a general introduction to American Transcendentalism and orientalism. In the second section, I discuss Emerson's and Thoreau's indebtedness to and use of Asian religions. As one might expect, Emerson's and Thoreau's treatment of Hinduism and Buddhism was much more literary, and more subtle, than that of the later Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson and O. B. Frothingham. In the third section of the dissertation, I review the ways Asian cultures and religions are treated in general interest New England intellectual magazines. In the fourth section I focus on Transcendentalist periodicals like The Dial and The Index, and in the fifth section I examine the second cycle Transcendentalists, including James Freeman Clarke, O. B. Frothingham, Samuel Johnson, Elizabeth Peabody, John Weiss, and many others, all of whom dealt with the Orient in their published works. I conclude by placing Transcendentalism in a larger historical context. Throughout I stay close to the original texts--books, journal articles, translations, and memorials--not least because many of these authors' orientalist works have not been examined before. In large part, the history to Transcendentalism and the Orient is the history not just of an "influence," but of abstracted world religious literatures transformed into Emerson's literary religion, Johnson's universal religion, or Clarke's Unitarian Christianity. Emerson assimilated: for example, he was no doubt influenced by the Vedic concept of paramatman, or transcendent Self, in creating his concept of Oversoul, but the two are not identical. Likewise, Samuel Johnson's orientalism centered on his belief in an evolving universal religion, while James Freeman Clarke's orientalist works depicted Asian religions in a Unitarian light. On balance, Emerson's view of the philosophia perennis underlying all traditions finally seems more congruent with the spirit of the religions he draws from than the more encyclopaedic writings of the second cycle Transcendentalists. Yet this is a study not only of American Transcendentalists' literary assimilation of Asian religious traditions, but of the inception of East-West dialogue and of religious pluralism in America. In this work I argue that, even though the Transcendentalists may be accused of literary colonialism, their works were consistently and deeply influenced by their readings about world--and especially about Asian--religions and cultures. Transcendentalism represented a marked changed from the largely negative and often racist orientalism common in general interest mid-nineteenth century New England writing, and a very serious effort toward religious pluralism and universalism. en_US
dc.format.extent 352 p. en_US
dc.subject Religion, History Of en_US
dc.subject History, United States en_US
dc.subject Literature, American en_US
dc.title Ex oriente lux: American Transcendentalism and the Orient. en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreename Ph.D. en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline English Language and Literature en_US
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies en_US
dc.description.bitstreamurl http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/104316/1/9034535.pdf
dc.description.filedescription Description of 9034535.pdf : Restricted to UM users only. en_US
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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