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The American Transcendentalists: A Religious Historiography

Daniel Dillard (Florida State University)

A review of the secondary literature suggests the narrative of American Transcendentalism read explicitly as a religious or spiritual demonstration is both problematic and incomplete. This essay examines two major trends in this story with an eye toward the secondary conceptualizations of the movement in more recent histories. Considering the question of how - and to what extent - historians and other scholars have included, interpreted, and thereby shaped the Transcendentalists in the narrative of America's religious history, the article argues specific agendas fashioned scholarship on American Transcendentalism in a range of eras and determined where the movement fit in relation to the given central themes and narrative programs of various critics.

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ISSN 1753-5794