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This was, it must be seen, a distinct reaffirmation of the position previously taken by Robert Bartlett and shows how definite and earnest, on the literary side at least, was the aim of the Transcendentalists. In temperament, no doubt, they differed enormously — Alcott and Parker, for instance, representing almost the opposite extremes of the ideal and practical; but so far as literature was concerned their aim was one. All wished to create such a literature, to hold it to a high standard and to make it representative of the new world in which it was born. Literature had in its plans a position which had been assigned to it in no previous outburst of the American mind. To these men and women, most of the New York Knickerbocker school probably appeared as triflers, and the North American contributors as merely academic. They reached doubtless but a limited audience, as do most reformers; they committed fantastic follies, but so do the saints everywhere. As a result they distinctly influenced the national literature; much, for instance, of the power now attributed to Emerson being

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Theodore Parker (1)
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