The first major study since the 1930s of the relationship between American Transcendentalism and Asian religions, and the first comprehensive work to include post-Civil War Transcendentalists like Samuel Johnson, this book is encyclopedic in scope. Beginning with the inception of Transcendentalist Orientalism in Europe, Versluis covers the entire history of American Transcendentalism into the twentieth century, and the profound influence of Orientalism on the movement—including its analogues and influences in world religious dialogue. He examines what he calls "positive Orientalism," which recognizes the value and perennial truths in Asian religions and cultures, not only in the writings of major figures like Thoreau and Emerson, but also in
contemporary popular magazines. Versluis's exploration of the impact of Transcendentalism on the twentieth-century study of comparative religions has ramifications for the study of religious history, comparative religion, literature, politics, history, and art history.
Readership: Scholars of comparative religion, religion in America, American and English literature, history.
Arthur Versluis, Assistant Professor of English, Washburn University