George Willis Cooke, comp. The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology. 1903.
By George Willis Cooke (18481923)
RECENTLY, in making a somewhat careful and extended study of New England transcendentalism, I was impressed anew by the poetry it produced. I found that much of it had not been republished, and was to be found only in the pages of such periodicals as The Dial, The Radical, and The Journal of Speculative Philosophy. It seemed to me that a representative collection of the poetry influenced by transcendentalism would serve to indicate how largely that movement had affected American literature, and also to make accessible those poems that had been neglected. In making this selection of verse it has not been my aim to choose only what is best, but rather to give specimens of the poetical output of that movement. The selections taken from Emerson, Lowell, and others have been drawn from the pages of the periodicals in which transcendentalism found expression, in order that they may be indicative of the influence coming to these poets from that source. Some of the poems chosen, for that reason, are not to be found in the collected works of these poets. These early, uncollected, or discarded poems are expressive of one or another phase of what transcendentalism was to the youth who accepted it in the flush of its dawn. I have made the collection an inclusive one, without attempting to select from every poet or writer of verses who came into contact with transcendentalism. If the collection has a large number of religious poems it is because this movement was deeply religious in its nature and in its influence.