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Grant number: FB-10508-70

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Barbara H. Carson
Rollins College (Winter Park, FL 32789-4409)

Orphic Imagery in Works of Bronson Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson & Henry D. Thoreau

Study of how Bronson Alcott, Emerson and Thoreau used symbols derived from the myths concerning the Greek poet-prophet Orpheus and from the mystical religion of Orphism in order to express their major Transcendental themes. Mystical tendencies and ascetic ideals of Orphism echoed Transcendental beliefs; the central problem in both concerned the evolution of the Many from the One. Both Orphics and Transcendentalists believe in ultimate unity of all in God and in the possiblility of man's spiritual expansion toward the divine. While none of the Transcendentalists accepted Orphism literally, each saw in its myths and its elaborate system of symbols metaphors capable of expressing their own ideas. Offers a means of comparing the three Transcendentalist on the basis of their artistic craftsmanship and their thematic emphases revealed through their uses of Orphic imagery. Investigation of how ideas from the past no longer literally accepted but persist as they become symbols for the expression of new ideas.

Project fields:
Literature, General

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$9,500 (approved)
$9,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/1970 – 6/30/1971