We Stand before the Secret of the World
Traces along the Pathway of American Romanticism
This book will consist of ten previously published essays which, taken together, are intended to provide a coherent discussion of the asystematic philosophy of American Transcendentalism and how it is reflected in various writers and painters of the 19th and 20th centuries in the United States. The first chapter, by way of introduction, traces out relationships among Puritanism, Transcendentalism, 19th century landscape painting and the 20th century novel. Most of the authors and works mentioned here will be discussed in more detail in the rest of the book. The main body of the book consists of three sections containing three essays each. The first group provides discussions of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature, “The American Scholar” and “The Poet”. The second group deals with Emily Dickinson’s letters to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, the Romantic aspects of her poetry and her poetry on the subject of death. The third section offers a three-part reading of William Faulkner’s 1943 novel, Go Down, Moses. My aim in these essays is at least twofold: 1) to reflect on the deepest implications of the Romantic revolution in Western thinking and 2) to demonstrate and clarify the central importance of Romanticism for the development of American art and culture.