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Religions 2019, 10(2), 92; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020092

John Muir and the Botanical Oversoul

Princeton Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 821, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, NJ 08542-0803, USA
Received: 10 December 2018 / Revised: 21 January 2019 / Accepted: 28 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Verdant: Knowing Plants, Planted Relations, Religion in Place)
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Abstract

The relation of influence between Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Muir helps to illuminate Muir’s characteristic brand of nature religion, namely his mysticism. This relation is especially clear, I argue, in both Emerson and Muir’s writing on their mystical affinities for plant life. Applying Harold Bloom’s renowned theory of literary influence, I draw lessons from Emerson and Muir’s mystical writings to highlight the ways in which Muir acquired from Emerson the plant-related vocabularies and practices that came to mediate his nature-inspired mysticism and also how Muir can be said to have surpassed Emerson’s own mystical example, thus opening new vistas of consciousness in human–plant relations in the nineteenth-century American religious experience. View Full-Text
Keywords: John Muir; Ralph Waldo Emerson; plants; mysticism; Harold Bloom; literary influence; nature writing John Muir; Ralph Waldo Emerson; plants; mysticism; Harold Bloom; literary influence; nature writing
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Powell, R.C. John Muir and the Botanical Oversoul. Religions 2019, 10, 92.

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