I would like to read some basic books on Transcendentalism and its famous writers (Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Fuller, etc.) that are not too scholarly (for now) just to get a better, objective idea of what the tenants of it are. I had started reading American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever and was enjoying it but after reading the scathing reviews on Amazon about the many errors and unsupported theories in the book, I no longer wish to read it.
I also need recommendations on good, basic and reliable books on life in the 19th century for the average man and woman. Intellectually I understand that the Concord writers were revolutionary but I want to understand it emotionally (ideally from the point of view of an average 19th century man or woman – is that possible?). I am particularly interested in books about what Christian spirituality was like at the time as I know that Louisa’s spiritually was considered fairly radical.
I am beginning to suspect that my own spirituality and way of looking at life both have been very much influenced by Transcendentalism (gee, big surprise considering I’ve lived all my life in eastern and central Massachusetts) through my mother especially (she was loosely Unitarian and grew up in Lynn and Swampscott, also known as the North Shore in MA). I was raised Roman Catholic (through my dad) and very much practice it and consider it the core of my life but I feel so at home too reading Thoreau and seeing the Transcendentalist threads especially in Moods. The spirituality that Louisa espoused in Little Women felt very familiar and was very attractive to me (the spirituality that I gleaned from reading between the lines).
So, any suggestions? I’m all ears . . . 🙂