Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Literary Investigation

Casting Bucky Fuller as a New England transcendentalist, in the same lineage as his great Aunt Margaret, is fairly easy to do (dare I say a no-brainer), given his far out metaphysics and Bear Island beginnings.

If we zoom out from these New England beginnings and start talking about American Transcendentalism more inclusively, then whom might we add to our cast of characters?

I think many would agree on Walt Whitman. Nick thinks Gary Snyder and Thomas Pynchon more recently, and I've been asking about Edgar Alan Poe, because of Eureka!, a proto-Synergetics in some ways.

But if we include Poe, then what else might be said about the relationship of Transcendentalist to Gothic writers? Taxonomies have their dangers, can get in the way.

As one approaches the present day, it's a lot about television and film, not just printing presses.

Going back again, there's also the question of Unitarianism and its roots in Transylvania -- lots of overlap with the transcendentalists there too, notably in Emerson.

I touched on these questions in my paper for EuroPython last year: Connecting the Dots: American Transcendentalism Meets Pythonic Math (Vilnius, 2007).