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American Romanticism:

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Presentation on theme: "American Romanticism:"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Romanticism: 1800-1860
Light Romanticism, Dark Romanticism, Transcendentalism

2 Romanticism as a Journey
Away from Corruption of civilization Limits of rational thought

3 Romanticism as a Journey
Toward Integrity of nature Freedom of imagination Actually grew out of a latent idealism as expressed by Jonathan Edwards Source The Deerslayer N. C. Wyeth

4 Which are you? Romantic Rational Intuitive Nature-loving Practical

5 Imagination Beauty Truth

6 Big Ideas of Romanticism
Intuition Experience Individual Nature Ideal Intuition is more trustworthy than reason Personal experience > universal principles Individual is center of life; God is center of individual Nature is symbolic—leads to understanding of supernatural We shouild strive for the ideal—what is ought to be source: Skipp, Francis in American Literature

7 Characteristics of American Romanticism
Values feeling over reason Places faith in inner experience and imagination Shuns artificiality of civilization; seeks unspoiled nature Prefers youthful innocence to educated sophistication Emphasizes individual freedom and worth Believes nature’s beauty can lead to spiritual and moral development Elements of Literature (145)

8 Characteristics of American Romanticism
Looks backward to the wisdom of past and distrusts progress (Science) Finds beauty and truth in Exotic locales Supernatural realm Inner world of the imagination Sees poetry as the highest expression of the imagination Finds inspiration in myth, legend, and folk culture Elements of Literature (145)

9 A New Hero Young or youthful Innocent and pure of purpose
Sense of honor based on principle higher than society’s rules Understanding of the world is intuitive, not based on formal learning Loves nature Quests for higher truth in the natural world Elements of Literature 149

10 Legacy Lasting Effects of American Romanticism
Humanitarian reform Abolitionism Feminism Liberal religious movements Unitariansim Universalism Economic experiments Communal living (Brook Farm, New Harmony) James D. Hart, The Oxford Companion to American Literature, 6th ed. (572).

11 Light Romanticism Emily Dickinson Walt Whitman
“Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church” Walt Whitman “Learn'd Astronomer” Focus on the inherent inner light of humans, the beauty of nature, and the perfection of the universe.

12 Dark Romanticism Nathaniel Hawthorne
“The Birthmark” (packet 131) Focus on the inherent inner darkness of humans, the perverseness of spirit, and the punishing nature of the universe.

13 Hudson River Painters Art as an agent of moral and spiritual transformation Kindred Spirits, Asher B. Durand, 1849

14 Transcendentalism Immanuel Kant
“…concerned not with objects but with our mode of knowing objects." source

15 Transcendental Beliefs
the spark of divinity lies within man; everything in the world is a microcosm of existence the individual soul is identical to the world soul (Emerson’s Over-Soul) By meditation, by communing with nature, through work and art, man could transcend his senses and attain an understanding of beauty and goodness and truth. source

16 Transcendentalists Belief in the Inner Light Authority of Self
Ralph Waldo Emerson’s doctrine of Self-Reliance Henry David Thoreau's civil disobedience, Utopian communities at Brook Farm source

17 Transcendentalism Ralph Waldo Emerson “Henry David Thoreau
“Self Reliance” (packet 67) “Henry David Thoreau Walden Solitude (packet 80) Conclusion (packet 84) Built on the idea of the inner light, but believed that this was the divine spark, that humans carry God inside us. And because we all carry the divine, we are all capable of perfection.

18 Anti-Transcendentalism
Causes Opposed the optimism and idealism of transcendentalists Dwelt on guilt and remorse over past sins Discontented with circumstances in America Women’s rights, slavery, poor educational system, lack of justice

19 Key Beliefs/Philosophies
Belief in potential destructiveness of human spirit Belief in individual truths, not universal ones Focus on man’s uncertainty and limitations in the universe Nature is vast and incomprehensible

20 Style Man vs. Nature conflicts – bring out evil in humanity
Focus on protagonist’s inner struggles Usually outsiders who are alienated from society Lots of symbolism and allegory

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