The Periodicals of American Transcendentalism

By Clarence L. F. Gohdes | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE

Although the last number of The Harbinger had appeared on February 10, 1849, it was not until five months later that the reformers whose literary activities we have been considering, managed to bring out another journal wholly devoted to their projects. However, upon recalling the wretched end of their former periodical, despite the powerful array of its writers, one is rather surprised that any of the Fourierists had the temerity to try their luck again in the publishing world. But the evils of social conditions were still before their eyes, and the idealism that fostered the hope of their correction was still strong within the breasts of certain ones among the leaders at least. Brisbane and Ripley, for example, never repudiated their former principles as long as they lived.1 But it was William H. Channing who once more assumed the rôle of editor, in another vain attempt to propagandize the nation in favor of what he considered to be "Christian Socialism."

The Spirit of the Age, his new journal, made its first appearance on July 7, 1849, from the publishing house of Fowler and Wells in New York. A prospectus provided the following information :

This weekly paper seeks as its end the Peaceful Transformation of human societies from isolated to associated interests; from competitive to coöperative industry, from disunity to unity. Amidst Revolution and Reaction it advocates Reorganization. It desires to reconcile conflicting classes and to harmonize man's various tendencies by an orderly arrangement of all relations, in the Family, the Township, the Nation, the World. Thus would it aid to introduce the era of Confederated Communities, which

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1
See Albert Brisbane, A Mental Biography, with a character study by his wife, Redelia Brisbane, Boston, 1893; and Theodore Stanton, "Some Unpublished Commentaries of George Ripley," The Nation, CVI, 736 ( June 22, 1918).

-132-

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The Periodicals of American Transcendentalism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I Introduction 3
  • Chapter II the Western Messenger and the Dial 17
  • Chapter III Orestes A. Brownson and the Boston Quarterly Review 38
  • Chapter IV the Present 83
  • Chapter V the Harbinger 101
  • Chapter VI the Spirit of the Age 132
  • Chapter VII Elizabeth Peabody and Her Æsthetic Papers 143
  • Chapter VIII the Massachusetts Quarterly Review 157
  • Chapter IX the Dial (cincinnati) 194
  • Chapter X the Radical 210
  • Chapter XI 229
  • Appendix Two Uncollected Emerson Items 255
  • Index 257
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