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American Romanticism

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American Romanticism Americans continue to reach out for independence, prosperity, commerce, and urban civilization. Romanticism Romanticism began in Germany in the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Romanticism


1
American Romanticism
  • Americans continue to reach out for independence,
    prosperity, commerce, and urban civilization.

2
Romanticism
  • Romanticism began in Germany in the second half
    of the 18th century.
  • Romanticism influenced literature, music, and
    painting in Europe and England.
  • Romanticism came late to America .

3
Literary Differences at a glance
  • Franklins literature Autobiography.
  • Story of his journey to Philadelphia in 1771.
  • Story of his journey is a personal declaration of
    independence.
  • Charles Brockden Arthur Mervyn.
  • Story about a young farmboy hero that leaves his
    home to go to Philadelphia.
  • His journey tells not of a place of promise, but
    a place of decay, corruption, and evil.

4
Rationalism vs. Romanticism
  • According to Franklin the city was a place to
    find success and self-realization.
  • To romantic writers the city was a place of moral
    ambiguity and worse, of corruption and death.
  • The romantic journey is to the countryside, which
    romantics associated with independence, moral
    clarity, and healthful living.

5
The Romantic journey defined
  • Voyage to the country of imagination.
  • Flight both from something and to something.
  • Americas first truly popular professional writer
    is today known principally for an immortal story
    about an escape from civilization and
    responsibility. The writer is Washington Irving.
    (Rip Van Winkle.)

6
The City not so romantic for occupants



in the early 1800s.
  • Largest American cities were Boston,
    Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, and New York
    City.
  • Washington Irving and William Cullen lived there
    as did other romantic writers.
  • Between 1820 and 1840 the population doubled from
    124,000 to 312,000.

7
New York City
8
Tenements
  • In 1830 the first tenements were built.
  • One bathtub might be shared with 400 people.
  • Eight or more might live in a single room.
  • Chickens would be slaughtered in individual
    rooms.
  • Horse droppings littered the street.
  • Dead horses were left to rot in street gutters.

9
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10
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11
Big City Reality
  • In 1832 in Manhattan cholera killed an average of
    one hundred people per day.
  • There were 20,000 homeless children on the
    streets of NY. Most worked in sweat shops.

12
There were waterfront gangs which included the
pirates who killed for next to nothing. On
Cherry Street 15,000 sailors were robbed in one
year. Fire companies would fight over who had
the right to put out the fires.
Gangs. . .
Fire companies.. .
13
Central Park
  • William Cullen Bryant, the poet, came up with the
    idea to build a huge park for the health and
    recreation of the people. It would have to wait
    until after the Civil War in 1876 before it was
    built.

14
Then and Now. . .
15
The theme of romantic literature . . .
  • The romantics believed that the imagination was
    able to apprehend truths the rational mind could
    not reach.
  • These truths were usually accompanied by powerful
    emotion and associated with natural, unspoiled
    beauty.

M. Hernandez
16
Imagination vs. Logic
  • Sensibility, the imagination, spointaneity,
    individual feelings, and wild nature were of
    greater value than reason, logic, planning and
    cultivation.
  • For artistic endeavors there was a new premium on
    the intuitive, felt experience.

17
Characteristics of American Romanticism
  • Value feelings intuition over reason.
  • Place faith in inner experience the power of
    imagination.
  • Shuns the artificiality of civilization seeks
    the unspoiled nature.
  • Prefers youthful innocience to education
    sophistication.
  • Champions individual freedom the worth of the
    individual.

18
  • Contemplates natures beauty as a path to
    spiritual moral development.
  • Looks backward to the wisdom of the past
    distrusts progress.
  • Finds beauty truth in exotic locales, the
    supernatural realm, the inner world of the
    imagination.
  • Sees poetry as the highest expression of the
    imagination.
  • Finds inspiration in myth, legend, and folk
    culture.

19
Gothic Romanticism
  • The gothic novel had wild, haunted landscapes,
    supernatural events and mysterious medieval
    castles.

20
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21
Edgar Allan Poe
  • He was attracted to the exotic, otherworldly
    trappings of the Gothic.
  • In America, particularly in the works of Poe, the
    Gothic took a turn toward the psychological
    exploration of the human mind.

22
  • American Romanticism took two roads on the
    journey to understanding higher truths. One road
    led to the exploration of the past and of exotic,
    even supernatural, realms the other road led to
    the contemplation of the natural world.

23
Lessons of nature between puritans and romantics.
  • Drew moral lessons from nature.
  • Lessons from nature were defined in their
    religion.
  • In nature they found the God they knew from the
    Bible.
  • Found far less clearly defined divinity in
    nature.
  • Their contemplation of the natural world led to a
    more generalized emotional and intellectual
    awakening.

Puritans
Romantics
24
Would American writers continue to imitate
European models?
  • NO! The American novel development coincided with
    the expansion of the frontier, growth of national
    spirit, and the idealization of frontier life.
  • A geography of the imagination developed.

25
James Fenimore Cooper
26
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
  • Coopers early books dealt with European
    lifestyles.
  • In The Pioneers (1823) he finally wrote something
    uniquely American.
  • He created the first American heroic figure
    Nutty Bumppo (also known as variously as Hawkeye,
    Deerslayer, and Leather stocking.)

27
The Romantic
Hero
  • The American hero was a man virtuous, had a love
    of nature, distrust of town life, and almost
    superhuman resourcefulness.

28
Hero differences
  • Age of Reason exemplified by a real-life figure
    such as Ben Franklin was worldly, educated,
    sophisticated, and bent on making a place for
    himself in civilization.

29
Superman
Lone Ranger
  • American Romantic hero was youthful, innocent,
    intuitive, and close to nature. He was also, by
    todays standards, hopelessly uneasy with women,
    who were usually seen as to represent
    civilization and the impulse to domesticate.
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