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(714 words)

Author(s): Lundin, Roger
Transcendentalism was a 19th-century American philosophy that emphasized the unity of spirit and nature. Its most renowned spokesman was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who called it “the Saturnalia or excess of Faith.” That which is “popularly called Transcendentalism among us,” he wrote, “is Idealism; Idealism as it appears in 1842” (Emerson, 198, 193). Rather than being a well-organized and clearly defined movement, transcendentalism was instead the name given to a loosely knit group of authors, preachers, and lecturers bound together by their opposition…