With its roots in New England Puritanism.nEuropean phiilosophy and Orientalnmysticism, transcendentalism was,nas Van Wyck Brooks put it. a floweringnof New England, a view of life whichnrejected both rationalism and traditionalnChristianity in favor of an intuitive perceptionnof God and nature which was tonvitalize American art and literature innthe middle third of the 19th century andnreaffirm the democratic ideal of thenmoral significance of the individual. Itnwas. in a way, a second declaration ofnindependence: just as the prose of Jeffersonnand the Continental Congress affirmednthe political independence of thencolonies in 1776. so the emerging romanticismnof Irving, Cooper. Poe. Hawthorne.nMelville and Whitman, as wellnas the transcendentalism of Emersonnand Thoreau—all before the Civil Warn—•showed that the young nation hadncome of age culturally.nThese writers brought a sense ofnmystery and strangeness to Americannliterature and nurtured the humanitariannimpulse which blossomed into politicalnand social reform. By underliningnthe importance of freedom and individualism,nby strengthening faith in thenworth of the American experience, thesenmen demonstrated the maturation ofnAmerica from colony to nation. Transcendentalism,nopposed as it was to rationalismnand authoritarianism, gave tonthe American spirit an intuitional idealismnwhich underlay many of the causesnto which the intellectuals of the periodndevoted themselves.nX hus in the dark symbolism of Poe,nthe incisive spiritual probings of Melvillenand Hawthorne, and the exultantnnationalism of Bryant, Cooper and Irvingnthere was bom the belief that Americanwas unique in human history, a nationnfavored by destiny to lead the world.nThe Manifest Destiny of President Polknand others, while repugnant to writersnsuch as Alcott and Thoreau on the particularnissue of the Mexican War, reflectednthe dominant idea of the time—thatnAmericans were a chosen people, livingnunder the best of human institutions,nwho would serve as a model for the idealnsociety. Whitman perhaps best expressednthis sense of adventure in “Passagento India”:nSail forth—steer for the deepnwaters only,nReckless O Soul, exploring, I withnthee, and thou with me.nFor we are bound where marinernhas not yet dared to go.nAnd we will risk the ship,nourselves, and all.nBut even as Whitman wrote, the romanticnimpulse was beginning tonweaken. The agony of the Civil War,nburgeoning political corruption and thenrise of an industrial-urban society wasngiving substance to Mark Twain’s im­nIdeological FemachonLetty Cottin Pogrebin: Growing UpnFree: Raising Your Child in the 80’s;nMcGraw-Hill; New York.nby Carson DalynvJstensibly a guidfe to help parentsnand educators ”raise a free child in ansexist society,” Letty Cottin Pogrebin’snGrowing Up Free: Raising Your Childnin the 80’s is a multigeneric compendiumnadvocating feminist ideology. Appearingnas a biosociopsychosexual treatise,nthis more than 500-page tomencombines aspects of the self-helpnmanual, the how-to book and the pepntalk. Added to this melange there arenalso pointers on feminist consumer activismnand allusions to Pogrebin’s ownn”Road to Damascus” experience, hernconversion “to feminism at the beginningnof the seventies in a series of blinding,nnever-turn-back flashes of perception.”nAs if this were not enough,nGrowing Up Free also features elementsnProfessor Daly teaches English at NotrenDame University.nnnage of the Gilded Age, and it would notnbe long before the reforming spiritnwould fade before the rise of naturalismnin the work of Stephen Crane. FranknNorris and Jack London. Perhaps Emerson’sn’Terminus” (1867) foreshadowednthe eclipse of his generation’s hopes:n”It is time to be old,/To take in sail.”nThe dreams of a people rarely die.nOccasionally bruised by war, politicalnscandal and moral decay, the vision ofnAlcott’s generation lives on, to the greatnannoyance of the radical demagogues.nThe endurance of the romantic andntranscendentalist ideal testifies to thenworth of the aspirations of that peculiarnband of visionaries. Like Alcott. eachnof them may at times have felt like anpedlar without customers, but theirnbest market may be yet to appear. Dnof an intergalactic detective story whichnattempts to solve the mystery of sexismn—a kind of “cosmic immorality” accordingnto Ms. Pogrebin.nA veteran of two previous books advisingnwomen how to get along in anman’s world. Ms. Pogrebin’s recentnwork attacks sex-role stereotyping fromnwomb to grave, explains its detrimentalneffects on life at large and offers advicenon how to root out. sexism in all of itsnvirulent forms—from nursery decorationsnto children’s toys, from culturalnevents to co-ed athletic programs. Althoughnher analyses and her solutionsnare simplistic awfl? superficial, she shouldnnonetheless be given credit for a wrynsense of humor, a quick mind, a facilitynwith language and a genuine concern fornthe injustices of sex stereotyping. Shenmore or less convincingly shows the utternfatuity of limiting girls’ career choicesnto those of mother or menial and thosenof boys to chairman of the board or hulk.nThe author also more or less successfullyndemonstrates that women and meri arenboth victimized by the code of machismo,nby society’s unreasonable expectationsnI H M M a M H H i S ?nSeptember/October 1981n