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Transatlantic Transcendentalism

Coleridge, Emerson, and Nature

Samantha C. Harvey

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The first book devoted to Coleridge’s influence on Emerson and the development of American Transcendentalism

As Samantha C. Harvey demonstrates, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s thought galvanized Emerson at a pivotal moment in his intellectual development in the years 1826-1836, giving him new ways to harmonize the Romantic triad of nature, spirit, and humanity. Emerson did not think about Coleridge: he thought with Coleridge, resulting in a unique case of assimilative influence. In addition to examining his specific literary, philosophical, and theological influences on Emerson, this book reveals Coleridge’s centrality for Boston Transcendentalism and Vermont Transcendentalism, a movement which profoundly affected the development of modern higher education, the national press, and the emergence of Pragmatism.

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About the Author

Samantha Harvey is an assistant professor of English Literature at Boise State University. She is the editor of Coleridge’s Responses: Coleridge on Nature and Vision (London: Continuum, 2008).


...this is a remarkable book: a richly-informed and luminously intelligent study of a complex but crucial subject. Thorough yet concise, dense yet lucid, it reflects an impressive knowledge of the primary and secondary texts, yet relentlessly focuses on what the author designates "the Romantic triad."
- Patrick Keane, Review 19

Harvey’s account is the clearest and most detailed yet.

- Philip Aherne, Coleridge Bulletin

In striking accounts of what Emerson learned from Goleridge and European Romanticism, Harvey [has] thoroughly reassessed these transatlantic hospitalities.

- Jacob Risinger, Harvard University, Wordsworth Circle

We can be grateful to Harvey for her detailing of how a young Emerson absorbed and developed ideas from across the Pond and, in the process, became a great American thinker.

- The New England Quarterly

In this lucid and elegant transatlantic study, Harvey shows how deeply Emerson’s thought – hence Transcendentalism itself – was imbued with the light of Coleridge’s philosophy.

- Laura Dassow Walls, William P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English, University of Notre Dame

This is the definitive book on the Coleridge-Emerson relation and offers a superb picture of transatlantic Romanticism at work—traced, affirmed, and explained. Professor Harvey provides the full context and result of their relationship. In addition, the chapter treating Coleridge's formative presence in the Vermont school of Transcendentalism, which continues to influence higher education and Pragmatism, is a gem.

- Professor James Engell, Harvard University
Space does not permit the myriad payoffs to be gleaned by a careful reading of Harvey’s book. These include crisp metaphors – often crisper and more illuminating than Coleridge or Emerson themselves – clear categorical distinctions, and an overall argument structure that supports itself well.
- Jonathan Koefoed, Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Vol. 13, No. 4

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