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A House Divided and Restored

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1 A House Divided and Restored

2 Authors/Topics to be covered
Walt Whitman’s Poetry Spirituals Frederick Douglass Abraham Lincoln Robert E. Lee Chief Joseph Henry Timrod’s Ode Mark Twain and the Rise of Local Color (onset of Realism) Brett Harte Ambrose Bierce

3 Shift in Literature from Romanticism to Realism
Consequence of a war that destroyed certain American illusions of innocence Romantics concentrated on the extremes of existence, the inner life of the isolated individual or the mysteries of the universe (transcendentalists) Post Civil War writers tended to emphasize the middle ground of life and common human problems in social settings

4 Literary attention shifted from metaphysical questions to manners, customs, and ordinary relations of family, commercial, and social life Tell a story Here are your characters Here is your setting

5 The dreadful drama of the Civil War
Exposed more human limitations due to casualties, assassination, etc. South exposed to vindictive reconstruction policies Industrial boom continues in North to focus on civilian goods Telephone (1876) Railroad expansion New emphasis on oil and electricity Immigration grew Food production soared Voices of reform were now silenced and nation focused on commerce and industry

6 1870s---The Great Barbeque; Age of the Robber Barons; The Gilded Age (Twain)
“gilded”---Twain attempts to contrast the cheap and gaudy materialism of this time with the wisdom and humane values of the days of old End of 1800s, greater disparity between the rich and the poor, farmers and industrialists, and increase in corruption

7 Romanticism to Realism
Thoreau and Hawthorne---DEAD Emerson---OLD Melville---SILENT Longfellow and Whittier---still POPULAR, but in an old fashioned sort of way Walt Whitman provided a connection between the romantic idealism of the 1850s and postwar realities

8 Romantics concern with imagination, intuition, etc…
Realists place less emphasis on the imagination and more on observed fact (more scientific view)

9 Local Color and Regionalism
Regional differences highlighted through literature Distinct patterns of speech, dialects, local customs, recognizable “characters” Purpose of this style of writing was to familiarize Americans with their own nation Local color transitions romanticism and realism Pays attention to dialect, customs, etc. Human emotion and motivation often sentimentalized

10 Local Color in the South
Humorous story or sketch Concentrated on backwoods & frontier Exploited crudity and violence of that life Narrative elements were fistfights, shooting matches, practical jokes, hunting, and deceptive horse trades where the “hero” outcheats his rival Relied greatly upon exaggeration

11 Local Color in the North
Best local color writers were women Harriet Beecher Stowe & Sarah Orne Jewett Irony is an important aspect to the writing Writers wanted to transcend local concerns to illuminate universal issues of human life Tried to create local character types that were true to human nature in any region

12 The Far West New interest in California
San Francisco becomes financial and literary hub Many writers tried to bring the West to mainstream, particularly Twain

13 Overall Realism tended to restrict imagination
The movement toward regional interest, while valuable in emphasizing the special qualities of a region, threatened to make literature merely regional rather than national Yet, through writers such as Twain, local color and vernacular humor became America’s voice carried to the world

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