American Transcendentalism and Asian Religions (Religion in by Arthur Versluis

By Arthur Versluis

The 1st significant research because the Thirties of the connection among American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the 1st accomplished paintings to incorporate post-Civil struggle Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this e-book is encyclopedic in scope. starting with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the complete heritage of yankee Transcendentalism into the 20th century, and the profound impression of Orientalism at the movement--including its analogues and affects in global spiritual discussion. He examines what he calls "positive Orientalism," which acknowledges the price and perennial truths in Asian religions and cultures, not just within the writings of significant figures like Thoreau and Emerson, but in addition in modern renowned magazines. Versluis's exploration of the impression of Transcendentalism at the twentieth-century examine of comparative religions has ramifications for the examine of non secular historical past, comparative faith, literature, politics, background, and paintings heritage.

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111 The connections between Shelley's "Queen Mab" and Jones's "Palace of Fortune"—principally in terms of images like that of the "magic car," the "aetherial palace," and the queen herself—have been discussed by several critics already,112 and the connection between the Hindu conception of maya and Shelley's later recognition of the transitory, inherently unsatisfying nature of life as seen in "The Triumph of Life" can be glimpsed in a number of lines in that work, as when near the end of the poem Shelley speaks of A flock of vampire bats before the glare Of the tropic sun, bringing ere evening Strange night upon some Indian isle—thus were Phantoms diffused around.

Then, as the Hindoos/draw Their holy Ganges from a skiey fount, Even so to deduce the stream of human life From seats of power divine; and hope . . 117 In this use of Eastern locations or geography for their romantic affiliations, Wordsworth is following a long tradition in the West. 119 As Raine pointed out here we can envision a paradisal Oriental realm (Eden being traditionally in the East) in which incense-laden trees and cedars grow, in which the Abyssinian maid sings of Mount Abora. 122 Wordsworth, and, for that matter, virtually all of the English poets we have discussed, are more a part of this older indirect contact with the Orient than of that new contact with the mythology and teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism begun by Sir William Jones.

Coleridge, the editor of Byron's works, has pointed out, the lines from "The Giaour," which read The lonely Spider's thin gray pall Waves slowly widening o'er the wall; . . 89 But Byron's Orientalism remained mainly for exotic effect and was mostly limited to Islamic sources. "90 Indeed, Moore's descriptions of Radha, the "Amra flowers," and "Crishna" all derive from Jones, just as many of his poetical descriptions of India were taken directly from Jones's botanical essays, as J. P. 91 Though we have to alter spellings from time to time, Moore's poems in fact are filled with references from the East: we meet Kamadeva (Camdeva), the Heaven of Indra, Rama, Krishna (Crishna), and other figures.

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