|Instructor Info:||Alan Hodder|
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Even in during its most robust period in the 1830's and 40's, the Transcendentalist Movement never included more than a few dozen vocal supporters, but it fostered several significant cultural precedents, including a couple of America's first utopian communities (Brook Farm and Fruitlands), an early women's rights manifesto (Fuller's Woman in the Nineteenth Century), the first enthusiastic appropriation of Asian religious ideas, and, in the travel writings of Thoreau, the nation's earliest influential environmentalism. The Transcendentalists also produced some of the richest and most original literature of the nineteenth century.
The purpose of this course is two-fold: to explore in depth the principal writings of the Transcendentalists in their distinctive literary, religious, and historical settings; and to examine these texts reflexively for what they may say to us today. While sampling other writings of the period, we will read extensively in the work of three premier literary and cultural figures: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Henry David Thoreau.
1) three short papers, due in class on the dates specified on the syllabus
2) 8-12 page final project due on Thursday, December 12, no later than 4 pm, in my mailbox in the HACU offices
3) participation in one group presentation in class
4) semi-weekly participation in seminar
Please note: In order to receive an evaluation for this course, each student must satisfy all four of the requirements indicated above on time. Under normal circumstances, students who miss more than three classes over the course of the semester will not receive an evaluation.
* Required Reading
Emerson, Emerson’s Prose and Poetry, ed. Joel Porte and Saundra Morris (Norton)
Fuller, The Essential Margaret Fuller, ed. Jeffrey Steele (Rutgers)
Thoreau, A Week, Walden, Maine Woods, Cape Cod, ed. R. F. Sayre (Library of America)
Whitman, Complete Poetry and Selected Prose, ed. James E. Miller, Jr. (Library of America)
* The first three of these texts are available for purchase at Amherst Books, 8 Main Street, in downtown Amherst. The Whitman text may be purchased through Amazon. These texts, as well as all other required reading, are also on reserve at the Hampshire College library or on the class website as indicated.
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