Saturday, September 18, 2010

the like-minded...

Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the first meeting of what has come to be known as the Transcendental Club.  Begun in 1836, the Club (know by many names and consisting of shifting participants) was a breeding ground for the transcendental movement.  Boston Unitarians, of course, were its primary participants and its most vehement critics.  Frederick Henry Hedge was a founder but later felt that many of the "transcendentalists" went too far.  Here is Hedge on the Club:

"In September, 1836, George Ripley, Waldo Emerson, and myself called the first meeting of what was named in derision 'The Transcendental Club.' There was no club in any strict sense, — only occasional meetings of likeminded men and women. No line was drawn between those who were members and those who were not, except that as a matter of course certain persons were always notified. Emerson, Alcott, Thoreau, Stetson, George Ripley and his wife, Mrs. Samuel Ripley, Margaret Fuller, John S. Dwight, Elizabeth Peabody, Theodore Parker, Jones Very, Robert Bartlett, John Weiss, Dr. Francis, Dr. Bartol, and myself, were expected. Orestes Brownson met with us once or twice, but became unbearable, and was not afterward invited. George Bradford, Samuel Osgood, and Ephraim Peabody were sometimes present . Dr. George Putnam came to one of these meetings, — in fact, was one with Ripley, Emerson, and myself, to start them; but they took a turn unexpected to him, and after the first meeting at Emerson's he ceased to come. My coming from Bangor, where I then resided, was always the signal for a meeting." (love the bit about Orestes...)

Of course regular participant James Freeman Clarke would later say that the group called themselves " the club of the likeminded, I suppose, because no two of them thought alike."


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