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Transcendentalism and Its Effects on American Literature Spawned as a late and local manifestation of the Renaissance Transcendentalism swept through New England in the early 1800s Trent 326 The term transcendentalism was first used by Kant a German philosopher It refers to the idea that matters of ultimate reality transcend the human experience In American literature the term can be defined as the belief in the genuine divinity of every man and the faith in his capability to understand immortality the soul and God through intuition rather than through pure reason Vogel and Murphy 231 Socially this revolution meant democracy the possibility of brotherhood and the potential balance of men Philosophically it meant a rebellion of the existing rationalists and skeptics Politically and religiously it meant the overthrow of feudal and papal tyrannies and customs Trent 326 Writers such as Emerson Thoreau and Fuller incorporated this transcendental belief into their writings and life This revolt blossomed in the 1830s and 40s with William Ellery Channings liberal preachings Other people began to catch on to and agree with Channings preachings In order to exchange ideas among this group of like-minded thinkers the Transcendental Club was formed Ralph Waldo Emerson George Ripley and Henry Hedge called the first meeting of this informal organization in 1836 Vogel and Murphy 232 Other notable members were Bronson Alcott Henry David Thoreau Margaret Fuller John Dwight and Theodore Parker The members of the Transcendental Club realized they needed their own periodical to express their influential ideas and beliefs The Dial was a small magazine representing religious literary philosophic and sociopolitical issues through the transcendental state of mind Slattery 1 The Dials first editor Margaret Fuller struggled from July of 1840 until midway through 1842 to make the quarterly magazine a success She was then hired by the New York Tribune After Margaret Fullers departure Emerson was appointed editor for the remaining two year struggle of the Dials life-span A professor
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