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American Romanticism

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Title: American Romanticism


1
American Romanticism
  • 1820-1865

2
National Optimism
  • Rapid expansion of US population
  • Agricultural advancement
  • Industrial advancement
  • Frontier
  • Technological advancements

3
Problems Facing the Nation
  • SECTIONALISM
  • North vs. South
  • Economic security/superiority
  • Slavery expansion
  • Political leadership

4
Beginnings of American Literature
  • Was American lit. to be strikingly American?
  • Narrower view
  • Resulted in hokey work that tried to encompass
    American in its entirety, praising its past and
    supposed future greatness

5
Or
  • Was American writing to be universal and
    comparable to the great works of Europe?
  • Broader view that wound up prevailing
  • Aided by the achievement of Romantic writers

6
Puritanism
1620-1700
  • Purpose for Literature
  • provide spiritual insight and instruction
  • Mostly sermons, theological studies, and hymns

Puritan Style Simple, Spare, Straightforward.
7
The Founding Fathers Neoclassicists
1750-1800
Emphasized reason, harmony, and
restraint Also some embraced Deism
8
American Romanticism
  • Roots in Europe
  • In the U.S., it ran from 1820-1865
  • Of all the literary and philosophical movements,
    this one has probably most affected the
    perception of peoples relationships to others
    and to God.

9
  • Romance Less formal version of epic
  • Noble character on a series of adventures
  • Pastoral setting
  • Love interest and the idealization of women

10
Characteristics of American Literary Romanticism
  • 1. INDIVIDUALISM
  • Popularized by the frontier tradition
  • Jacksonian democracy
  • Abolitionism

11
  • Rejection of the Puritan belief in total
    depravity
  • People were naturally benevolent
  • Mind was a tabula rosa at birth
  • Corrupted by institutions that
  • sought to dehumanize individuals
  • People worth highlighting are those
  • closest to Nature
  • Noble savage

12
  • 2. IMAGINATION
  • Reaction against the earlier ages emphasis on
    Reason

13
  • 3. EMOTION
  • Feeling is now considered superior to rationality
    or intellect, as the mode of perceiving and
    experiencing reality
  • Intuition leads one to truth
  • Truth/reality are now highly subjective

14
  • 4. NATURE
  • The means of knowing Truth
  • God reveals himself solely through Nature
  • Nature becomes a moral teacher
  • Eden-like and untouched by Adams fall
  • A retreat for men
  • U.S. literature full of lavish descriptions of
    Nature
  • U.S. literature different in the sense of wild
    Nature vs. Europes cultivated Nature

15
  • 5. DISTANT SETTINGS
  • Both in terms of time and place
  • Used to comment on attitudes of the time period

16
Transcendentalists
1840-1855
Part of the American Romantic Movement
Believed that
Truth could not be perceived with the five
senses Human soul is part of the Oversoul or
universal spirit, which it returns to at a
persons death Held nature in as an object of
worship
17
Anti-Transcendentalism
  • Hawthorne and Melville
  • Evil Abounds
  • Not Optimistic

18
GOTHIC ROMANTICISM
EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849) In his short stories
and poetry applied universal standards of
literary criticism. Developed the American short
story brevity concept.
19
American Authors
20
THE KNICKERBOCKERS
  • 1.WASHINGTON IRVING
  • (1783-1859)
  • Not so much fiction as sketches
  • Distinctly American settings and characters
  • The History of New York
  • Narrator Diedrich Knickerbocker
  • Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

21
  • 2. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789-1851)
  • First successful American author
  • Grew up in Cooperstown, NY
  • Wrote 32 novels, including The Last of the
    Mohicans and The Leatherstocking Tales

22
  • NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes
  • John Greenleaf Whittier
  • James Russell Lowell

23
  • TRANSCENDENTAL OPTIMISTS
  • RALPH WALDO EMERSON
  • Famous for poetry, Nature and Self-
  • Reliance
  • Spokesman for transcendentalism who
  • was very optimistic about humans
  • benevolent nature
  • Spent much of his life in Concord, Mass
  • Lectured and made the rounds as a
  • proponent of transcendentalism

24
TRANSCENDENTAL OPTIMISTS
HENRY DAVID THOREAU Probably best known for
Civil Disobedience and Nature Practiced his own
preaching Influenced future leaders
25
  • Walden
  • I went to the woods because I wished to live
    deliberately, to front only the essential facts
    of life, and see if I could not learn what it had
    to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover
    that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what
    was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish
    to practice resignation, unless it was quite
    necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all
    the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and
    Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not
    life . . ."
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