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PS "American Transcendentalism"


Dozent(in): Monika Hottelet, M.A.
Termin: Dienstag 12 s.t.-13.30 Uhr
Gebäude/Raum: 1003


Inhalt der Lehrveranstaltung:

What was to become an important social, literary and philosophical movement which carried immense implications for American intellectual life, began innocently enough with irregular meetings of a handful of friends with Unitarian background in the neighborhood of Boston in the 1830’s. When their often radical ideas, strongly influenced by German Romantic philosophy, were expressed in public, they were often misunderstood and gave rise to controversy and ridicule. Pressed by newcomers for a definition of the term Transcendentalism, Yankee ingenuity found the explanation that "whatever was unintelligible would be certainly transcendental." This seminar is meant to enable you to give a different answer by the turn of the year.

As the so-called Transcendentalists and others who were influenced by their ideas were not unified upon any one creed, platform, or mode of expression, we will work with a variety of texts from poetry to philosophical treatise to fiction. Emphasis will be on the major representatives like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller, but we will also read lesser known adherents like Amos Bronson Alcott and Orestes Brownson. Through the eyes of Nathaniel Hawthorne we will regard the transcendental community Brook Farm and trace some of the aspects of Transcendentalism in Walt Whitman’s writings.

Prerequisite for this class will be your willingness to understand and discuss complex philosophical ideas in essayistic form. For the first session, please read Emerson’s "Nature" and "The American Scholar" closely, as there will be a short quiz about these first two texts.


Vorkenntnis für die Lehrveranstaltung:

Anforderungen für den Scheinerwerb: Regular attendance, active participation, short oral report

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen: Passed exam of the introductory course


Literatur zur Lehrveranstaltung:

Joel Myerson, ed. Transcendentalism: A Reader (New York: Oxford UP, 2000)
Francis Murphy, ed. The Complete Poems: Walt Whitman (Penguin Classics, 2005)
Annette Kolodny, ed. The Blithedale Romance (Penguin Classics, 1983)


weitere Informationen zu der Lehrveranstaltung:

empfohlenes Studiensemester der Lehrveranstaltung: Grundstudium
Fachrichtung Lehrveranstaltung: Amerikanistik (Magister), Englisch (Lehramt)
Nummer der Lehrveranstaltung: n/b
Beginn der Lehrveranstaltung: 18. Oktober 2005
Dauer der Lehrveranstaltung: 2 SWS
Typ der Lehrveranstaltung: PS - Proseminar
Semester: WS 2005/06