One afternoon in 1836 the Transcendental Club held its first meeting in Boston. The membership was noteworthy not only for the list of impressive personages, headed by Emerson, but for the general youthfulness of the group (Thoreau was only twenty-two) and for the fact (unusual for the day) that several women were invited to attend. The club consisted mainly of "bright young Unitarians seeking to find meaning, pattern, and purpose in a universe no longer managed by a genteel and amiable Unitarian God." The club met irregularly for three years and then passed into oblivion. The intellectual activity it engendered continues to affect American thought and values even today. The transcendentalists concerned themselves with problems of law, truth, individuality, theology, mysticism, pantheism, and personality, to mention only a few. Moreover, they were prolific writers and produced reams of letters, essays, poems, sketches, and memoirs. Historian Paul Boller traces the movement from its earliest stirrings through its height as a powerful movement to its decline in the aftermath of the Civil War. Whenever possible, he lets the transcendentalists speak for themselves. He sorts the permanent from the transient and demonstrates the immeasurable importance of a body of ideas which still live a century and a half after their inception.--From publisher description.