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Listen to the sound of education in early New England. Listen to the sound of religion in early New England. The New England run of song. The National Association of educational broadcasters resigned the New England Runnels song. This is Donald Bowen professor of humanities a Boston University on less than once in our series of programs about the New England renaissance. We're going to undertake a
rather difficult assignment on previous broadcast we've described many of the transcendentalists their lives their individual philosophies their friends. Now I'd like to attempt an explanation of the overall transcendental philosophy just what were these people trying to prove anyway and to assist in setting the scene. Here is Rod Wright who has been studying the period. If we are to point out the various factors in the transcendental philosophy we must first return to some of the sounds used previously in telling our story the sound of agriculture for example. For we must remember that the New England of the early 1900s was built around an agricultural economy. Material prosperity was everywhere. Life on the farms was simple and uncomplicated. The stern Puritan influence of New England's ancestors still permeated the atmosphere. Calvinism with its rigid dogma imposed
many mores on man's existence. Then a number of things gradually happened. There was a depression which left many people destitute. Questioning the wisdom of the economy under which they live. The industrial revolution where the resulting emphasis upon the material things of life moved into the eastern United States the so-called Great Awakening in New England stimulated an interest in religion. It was a period of questioning questioning the merits of a man based religion Unitarianism against the God based religion Calvinism. There was a gradual focusing on the greatness of humanity rather than the sovereignty of God. Unitarianism were shaking off the formal restrictions on religion and belief. And before anybody quite realized what was happening as an investigation began to probe into the New England school system which up to that time had been guilty in its own way of outmoded tradition and dogma it began to occur to some but there were other ways of teaching besides having the students memorize
everything. All this naturally caused a considerable amount of controversy and as though those worn enough to argue about another issue was brewing on the horizon a way for you to slay free the slaves. Yes the slavery issue was building there was a growing awareness of the human qualities of the individual that was sweeping through New England. A desire for change change change and an urge to examine examine examine. Growing out of a sympathetic climate where the transcendentalists providing the leadership. They brought into the cultural landscape some new intellectual concepts philosophical saw from Germany and France sometimes directly from the philosophers sometimes indirectly through English letters. Can he go gaga. Condi Yeah. Is your flaw choleric Carlyle. Where other's philosophies ideas and many others were discussed and disseminated this together with the economic factors we mentioned earlier led
to a new social and philosophical consciousness movement toward liberalism and social transformation. Now crowed the New England renaissance with a New England Renaissance came its leaders already known to you men and women like Ralph Waldo Emerson Frederick hedge George Ripley Bronson aka Margaret Fuller Henry David thorough Theodore Parker. They held conversations. They published the dial they sponsored commun little experiments like Brook Farm and fruit lands. They urged constant evaluation and thought in all things. They kept the intellectual bra boiling for nearly three quarters of a century. Each transcendentalist had his own ideas his own little part in the movement for individuality of thought and action was the keynote throughout. There was no formal organization no formal effort yet each contributed to the movement going his own way. Some of them like thorough and Emerson produced literature which carried far an influence stretching even into our today.
Others ended with enthusiastic devotion to the important reform agitations of the time particularly the abolition of slavery. Still others love the battle for new approaches to education. They ology public welfare for each in his own way. I wanted philosophical prosperity prosperity of the human soul to triumph over the materialistic philosophy which was dominating American life. Human nature they believed possessed infinite possibilities for development. Man could do something else with his mind and figure out new ways to make money. His Mara being demanded as much attention as his physical comforts and conveniences. Simply stated theirs was a rowboat against materialism. It was a rowboat carried on a number of ways in appealing to a man's moral nature through the church property. The schools the written word in ill fated demonstrations like book ROM of the idea of a cooperative type of life with terrorism or transcend dental ism was really the issue. Especially articulate about the issues involved was Theodore Parker
of Massachusetts Scala preacher and social reformer. Here are some quotations from his interpretive essay on transcendentalism published in 1876. The will is father to the deed but the thought and sentiment of father and mother of the will. Nothing seems more important than a thought and as neither hands nor feet but nothing proves as powerful the thought turns out a thing. If the price of virtue becomes manners habits laws institutions the abstraction becomes concrete. The most universal proposition is the most particular and in the end it is the abstract thinker who is the most practical man and sets mills are running in ships to sail the change of ideas made all that there. In other words part of the transcendental philosophy was based on the power of ideas. Perhaps said Parker in effect perhaps the direct influence of the transcendentalists on the world was slight but the seeds once thrown onto fertile ground will grow one day into help the dominant plants. What these
things said Parker could not be done in a nation governed by love of the material things of life. A young country like America its culture yet in adolescence would do well to examine where it stood. Examined deeply its conscience its love of the material the nation looks to a future a future to be made. A church whose creed is true whose worship of love. A society full of industry and abundance full of wisdom virtue in the poetry of life a stage with unity among all with freedom for each a church without tyranny a society without ignorance want a crime a state without oppression. Yes a world with no war among the nations that consume the works of their hands no restrictive policy to hinder the welfare of mankind. That is the human dream of the transcendental philosophy never become a fact. History says no human nature says yes. Theodore Parker personified the optimism of the transcendentalists when the day
comes. They believed in a fact when the day comes that man would discard his whole hearted love for materialism and concentrate on the innate virtues of life that day would bring a utopia for all. We have mentioned the influence of the German philosophical thought on the Transcendentalists. There were get his ideas on the development of the whole man for example permeating the transcendental atmosphere. There was another influence too on that sort of Oriental mysticism. Ralph Waldo Emerson was among the first to take Oriental mysticism out of the realm of considered foolishness individualistic tolerant. Imus and led his followers including sorow aka Parker Francis Clarke into the mysteries and idealism of the Asiatic. How much I rebelled against 18th century rationalism he enthusiastically eliminated the psychology of rock and Hume. He questioned the Baidu of Calvinism. He rejected Unitarianism. He probed
Christianity itself. Now my son was interested in the inner spiritual resources of man. His studies resulted in what is known today as the Concord Oriental as he filled his writings with references to Hindu religion and leaders and ideas like this. True Doctrine of omnipresence is that God reappears with all his pots in every mosque and cobweb God said Emerson is all around us and in us each of us. He developed what he called the oversold. It was based on the fact that Emerson believed that physical nature and the mind of man both revealed divine laws that they are both revelations of God. Divinity said Emerson is ingrained into the individual man which contradicted the revelations of God's will long ago to vanity is ingrained into the individual man. This is the thread sort of running through emissions works. It's one of the seams of his nature
series he applies the same thing in different writings to politics. Well the church to the world around him. So Emerson believed in the oversold the universal soul of which everything living was a part in contrast with the materialist who reasoned from facts history and the animal rights of man. The idealist felt Emerson believed also in the power of thought and of will in inspiration in Miracles in individual culture applying this concept to everyday life. It meant that anything could be accomplished. Why not then ask the Transcendentalist Why not just throw up the systems of thought and methods of reasoning which this philosophy proved were not adequate. Emphasize not what has been done they pleaded but what can be done from all directions there came inspiration to the Transcendentalist from the flowers the clouds the sun the birds the idiosyncrasy of the New England weather even the beauty of the morning in the night the coarse smells and work of the farm. The push of
industry contributed fuel to the renewed fire of further study and meditation Emerson's system based on the belief in the over soul went something like this. There is one soul. It is related to the mood. It is the Action Man on science finds its method and intertie its record. Religion is the emotion of reverence that it inspires. Ethics is the sole illustrated in human life. Society is the finding of this soul by individuals in each other trades and then another soul like in nature. Politics is the activity of the soul that going to straighten empower man and I sign and I mediate expressions of soul to change the word mood to bring the world into the perspective of these ideas. Now most of them Zorro and old Captain Ripley took them our approach. They weren't interested in participating in politics. Some of their friends both transcendental a
sonata undertook to change the scheme of things by getting involved in politics. Men like loss on power as man which took the right approach. Your guess is as good as ours and adding his bit to the transcendentalism basic philosophy of the end of that you ality of men was Henry David thorough who walked but not always in the footsteps of his master. Unless our philosophy here is the cock crow in every farmyard within our rights and it is belated that song commonly reminds us that we are growing rusty and antique in our employment habits of thought. There is something suggested by it that is a newer test of the gospel according to this moment. It is an expression of the help and soundness of nature. I brag for all the world to help in its as of a spring burst for the merit of this bird strain is its freedom from all plaintiveness the singer can easily move us to tears or to laughter
but where is he who can excite in us are pure morning Joy. And so it comes back once again to a manual count original source of the transcendental thought in Europe. To Stuart's influence those of us and whose thoughts influence those of his followers whose thoughts Intan influence ours now man himself is the secret to a medium of power. Many of us thrown back upon themselves as a repository of a divine and inexhaustible spiritual energy to all around them. The transcendental list screamed nonconformity make no concessions to society. Start again with an entirely new base for therapy and action and actions writings or echoed this theme. Self reliance. Who thought would be a man must be a nonconformist he who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness. But must explore and be
goodness. Nothing in that life. Thank god but the integrity of your own mind absolve you do your thought and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember. You to the that a great a thumper alliance must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of man in their religion in their education in their pursuits their modes of living then I think the ation in their property in a speculative view by way of summary then transcendentalism wasn't ASMS are up against a rationalism and materialism of the 18th century it tended to emphasize those parts of man's individual nature which was set to transcend or be somewhat independent of experience. It was intended to be a spiritual and practical idealism that never appealed philosophically to the masses. Yet it left its mark on the sinking of the world as described by professional military of the University of Wisconsin. Transcendentalism
involved the exhortation of man or man the doctrine that all power all wisdom comes from nature or was which man must establish an original and first time relationship. The relegation of books to a secondary place in the hierarchy of values. The insistence that instinct is good and must be obeyed rather than good in accordance with conventions and authority. All these ideas were closely related to the democratic impulse. Let man stand erect. Go alone and possess the universe that endless endless glorification of the individual the revolt against materialism. These were the keys to the transcendental ism sort in the New England renaissance. This is Rod Wright Meyer again the New England Renaissance series was planned in two
units. The first unit was that of the period a recreation of the transcendentalism period based on thorough study and research utilizing a cast of actors from the George Gershwin theatre at Boston University. We have tried in the first nine programs to present an adequate background of the entire New England renaissance. Its leaders its philosophy now to complete the series. We turn to the second unit of our series not the past but the present. We shall visit many of the places mentioned in previous broadcasts books. Farm conquered we shall describe them as they are today. We shall interview several descendants of the transcendentalists in their homes completing this series with a discussion by experts of the transcendental influence on our lives today. Thus we turn from the past to the present. As Professor Donald Bourne takes you know from our radio studio to the center of the city of Boston the sound you will now hear are the sounds outside one of the favorite gathering places of Emerson borrow all that and the other transcendentalists the sounds of the
old Corner Bookstore which celebrated in 1953. Its one hundred twenty fifth anniversary. We're standing in front of the old Corner Bookstore located on his dock Bromfield Street just a stone's throw from us is King's Chapel and there the old state house and a number of other famous buildings not far away as the cradle of liberty finally hook. The Old Corner Bookstore. A literary landmark in a stark Washington is still in good company. Actually the present story isn't in the same building as the one to which came Amazon lower Longfellow homes and a host of the other famous writers. But the flavor of the old store has been preserved and it mingles well with a modern talking at the plate glass windows before a window. The colorful display of the latest publication. Well let's leave the noise of the traffic outside here
and go into the old Corner Bookstore. Inside here now we'll talk with Irving Jones vice president of the old Corner Bookstore. Mr. Jones is 75 years old and has been with the old corner for about half a century. He started his career as assistant Shepard is slightly built. Whitehead Mr. John was by his every movement conveys good humor and happiness in his work. What are some of the famous people that you remember coming to New York on a ram. I had a talk with him on the band and he well knows the lab Belarc Of course I was that excellent customer of mine. And. The kid hiding Davis I sold that many books. I think that by
him Soledad practically every governor of the states and tried to walk. Mr. Jones goes on talking about his memories of the old Corner Bookstore. His salary in the beginning was $5 a week. Once he went to the proprietor and asked for a dollar a week raise the owner a shrewd Yankee told him he couldn't afford to pay more. But if Mr. Jones want to bail and sell a scrap paper about he could do that and keep what he made very shortly the enterprising assistantship was making more than as hoped for a raise by selling the paper at this point the owner a Yankee in every sense of the wood was doing the paper selling privilege and gave him his dollar a week raise he continues his recollections. I remember years ago doing that was all of course for some very good points he has sound about doing that why he wanted to stand all five and 10 copies of the I-75
that tightens and pointing to the driverless rod cams. Why haven't and knows much about World War One less than the birds probably wouldn't read them but anyway he got on the telephone here very rapid talky and I want to ask him to repeat what I was just looking to talk about. Anyway I will be getting a better run title out of 5. The lamb and I went home that night and didn't write about in Holland my going to get these typos. Well I happen to know his secretary name was Miss Moran so Ican this memorandum from the mining and he said Don't say a word I know jest what you want I send that list until nothing more before your output or if you know why Africa is in the know the old crone a book store organized an eight hundred twenty eight celebrated its one hundred twenty fifth anniversary in 1953 to the bookstore knows really came the geniuses of the New England renaissance.
The proprietors of the store starting in 1832 William de techno and james t FiOS were also in the publishing business. They introduced the works of such men as LOS on the Quincy and childs read Thackeray and Dickens were among the great figures entertained by these two partners. Mr. Jones talks about this about the high o shows which they had to reach by lottos and about other things in the old days and you're so good really sucks to be human. In those days we still got a lot of us had survived say before Christmas. Jesus died the degree would invariably find out at least five step that they can and should not have approved and that poor season when we didn't sell those fives and of course we were having some heads at that time anyway of course now if anybody asked or said a book you would know they were talking about you couldn't get them anyway and very few of the Standard author So how do you get that complete set on the
orders of Mr Jones or well the public are not going to record that they want to get acquainted with an author going to take one or two of their books in the olden days now a person felt they had to read a complete set of bacon. A complete set up Brad had a complete set of hearts and a complete set of Mach 20. And right now to get acquainted with the right guy that one can take it can suggest a couple of lines and there's a very interesting model of the old Kona bookstore about eight thousand sixty which can be seen there today made by Louise Stimson. It shows a four story brick building with a gambrel roof into drama windows. The chaise is drawn up on the brick street doubt side the store. Entering it as Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes of the Harvard Medical School in the windows of books of recent publications thoughts on his mobile phone. The price bear romance and mosses from an old
man's it is a piece of the past projected into the present in the old Corner Bookstore. Mr. Thomas M. Moroney the present manager of the store who has been with it more than a quarter of a century shows us this model talks Federer's. I notice some changes in the corner bookstore since I've known of for instance who've done something about books that were really high up you have to use a lot of. For the answer may be the height of the ceiling on the floor it's 28 feet. We had very long ladders that had to be climbed to get up to the top up a shelves and let me tell you we didn't enjoy it too much because. They were fairly regularly and it was a job to get up there and hang on with one while you searched around in the back rows of these book rags and that we would double in other words they had to roll books behind the outside row that was visible so it was quite a feat of acrobatics to hang on there and bring down the book that was wanted
in the period since 1928. In this change and the book business. We gradually eliminated many of these up the shelves so that no all of us dying is visible and were able to. Reach it from the floor itself considering I was to make an actual title and so like that you mention customer where do your customers come from mainly Broughton of course. Oh no indeed. In fact we do have a very large mail out of the patent that functions in our balcony and that's manned by the assistant manager. And we have customers from Alaska and Switzerland or was England. One of our best customers in Brazil. Another excellent one as in I didn't Tina. And there's a number in Central America and Italy in France and Arabia. To Indonesia. We don't have especially here in Boston
where we're associated with such mindless institutions such as have been lost due to the technology. So I will have visitors when these these people a visiting students when they go back to their countries usually they continue their book buying through the store that they became acquainted with as a student and we've had customers that they too would or that have been buying books for 15 20 years. Mr Moore only tells an anecdote about the wrong fellow. Of course Hong Kong was an introvert and didn't make friends very easily and eventually he met the wrong fellow at the corner circle and they loved remember a guy were ordered at the corner and they became quite friendly. He went out to dinner one day with a third friend this friend was I believe a friend of horror fans and during the. Just shortly after the dinner the friends that do not know why I never use that story that I've told the legend of
the girl up and Claudia was separated from at a level by the British moved to Louisiana and eventually found a lover's map on. The deathbed. A young man on said that he thought that it wasn't particularly suited to him but that Ragnar picked up again and said Well if you have no objection I think you feel that you wouldn't care to use it he said I'd like to try my hand and that is the way that the Vandeman was gone. We thank Mr. Jones and Mr. Maroney at the old Corner Bookstore and stall again back onto Bromfield street the Boston traffic and here and to those ninth program of the England Renaissance series we had a short postscript many of the books studied by the transcendental as came from the original Ode on a bookstore. The same organization which is active today from those books came some of the roots of the transcendental is the loss of the OT
so described earlier in this broadcast. This is our way of leaving the past and coming back again to the present. Next time we meet we show take you to book form as it is today our guide. A fine gentleman who laughingly calls himself the last of the transcendental lists the Reverend Howard G. Arnold of West Roxbury. Book from today we're sure you'll agree is an extremely intriguing landmark. And important landmark of the New England renaissance. This is a song written and produced the Boston University for the National Association of educational broadcasters in cooperation with the fund
for adult education. This was produced and directed by George W. Sloan assisted by William Bagot and Mel grey our script was written by Dr Richard C. Carpenter was research and content consultant professor. Born and writers our cast included Larry Hanson as Martin said and Irv which the music for this program was taken from Charles Ives composition. The Old Corner Bookstore. Revisited. It's a tour of the farm as it is today still bearing the memories of the Socialistic experiment in the Renaissance. This is the network.
New England renaissance
Revolt against materialism
Producing Organization
WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Explanation of Transcendental philosophy and its roots. Selections from works of Parker, Thoreau and Emerson.
Series Description
A dramatic re-creation of the New England Renaissance produced at Boston University.
Broadcast Date
New England--History--1775-1865
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Director: Sloan, George, W., Jr.
Producer: Boston University
Producing Organization: WBUR (Radio station : Boston, Mass.)
Subject: Elliott, Jack, 1931-
Subject: Parker, Theodore, 1810-1860
Subject: Thomas, Elmer
Writer: Diamond, Sidney, A.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-2-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:44
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Chicago: “New England renaissance; Revolt against materialism,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “New England renaissance; Revolt against materialism.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: New England renaissance; Revolt against materialism. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from