Transcendentalism and Religion: The State of Play



This essay surveys the scholarship on American Transcendentalism for the last fifty years, focusing on its treatment of the place of religion in the movement. It finds that after an initial period when interest in religion, defined in terms of the history of ideas and institutions, was high, the 1970s and 1980s saw a neglect or exclusion of religion as a factor in Transcendentalism. More recently, there has been a resurgence of interest, however, with emphasis on such topics as spirituality and multiculturalism.