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Title: Emerson's Indian Awakening and Religious Dissent: Thomas Moore's "Veiled Prophet of Khorassan" in Emerson's Early Writing and the Divinity School Address
Authors: Hewitson, Justin M.
Contributors: 文山評論:文學與文化
Keywords: Thomas Moore ; Emerson ; Divinity School Address ; Lalla Rookh ; India ; religious dissent ; monism ; Orientalism ; Romanticism ; American Transcendentalism
Date: 2020-06
Issue Date: 2020-11-12 14:30:33 (UTC+8)
Abstract: Emerson's polemical 1838 Harvard Divinity School Address urged clergyman to break from Christianity's doctrinal errors-specifically Unitarian dependence on miracles and its "noxious" representation of Jesus. He believed Indian monism could help restore etiolated Christianity to its former status as a pure "doctrine of the soul" (Emerson and Atkinson 68). Emerson's mature studies of India's spiritual works are widely acknowledged to have influenced his approach to self-realization and concepts of monism. Researchers have also noted his youthful enjoyment and subsequent disdain of Romantic Orientalism; however, the links between Lalla Rookh, the Oriental fantasy by Sir Thomas Moore, the Irish Romanticist, and Emerson's early religious dissent remain unexplored. Emerson was a fourteen-year-old Harvard freshman in 1817 when he read extensive reviews of the popular work published in the same year. He references Rookh at significant junctures in his journals and discourses. This paper explores the connections between Rookh's first frame narrative, "The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan" (VP), which offered an early critique of religious myopia, and Emerson's opposition to Unitarian doctrine. I examine the historiography of the New Englander's initial intellectual engagement with Indian spirituality through VP. Thereafter, I briefly analyze the intersection of VP's religious themes with Emerson's inaugural essays, Nature and "The American Scholar." My conclusion details the intriguing conceptual and oratorical parallels between Mokanna's critique of religious dogma and Emerson's dissent in the Divinity Address. By arguing that Christians would do well to understand Indian monism, Emerson set the stage for critical spirituality in American Transcendentalism.
Relation: 文山評論:文學與文化, 13(2), 121-151
Data Type: article
DOI 連結: 
Appears in Collections:[文山評論:文學與文化 THCI Core] 期刊論文

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