6 Big Ideas of Romanticism IntuitionExperienceIndividualNatureIdealIntuition is more trustworthy than reasonPersonal experience > universal principlesIndividual is center of life; God is center of individualNature is symbolic—leads to understanding of supernaturalWe shouild strive for the ideal—what is ought to besource: Skipp, Francis in American Literature
7 Characteristics of American Romanticism Values feeling over reasonPlaces faith in inner experience and imaginationShuns artificiality of civilization; seeks unspoiled naturePrefers youthful innocence to educated sophisticationEmphasizes individual freedom and worthBelieves nature’s beauty can lead to spiritual and moral developmentElements of Literature (145)
8 Characteristics of American Romanticism Looks backward to the wisdom of past and distrusts progress (Science)Finds beauty and truth inExotic localesSupernatural realmInner world of the imaginationSees poetry as the highest expression of the imaginationFinds inspiration in myth, legend, and folk cultureElements 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 rulesUnderstanding of the world is intuitive, not based on formal learningLoves natureQuests for higher truth in the natural worldElements of Literature 149
10 Legacy Lasting Effects of American Romanticism Humanitarian reformAbolitionismFeminismLiberal religious movementsUnitariansimUniversalismEconomic experimentsCommunal 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 PaintersArt as an agent of moral and spiritual transformationKindred 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 existencethe 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-RelianceHenry David Thoreau's civil disobedience,Utopian communities at Brook Farmsource
17 Transcendentalism Ralph Waldo Emerson “Henry David Thoreau “Self Reliance” (packet 67)“Henry David ThoreauWaldenSolitude (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 CausesOpposed the optimism and idealism of transcendentalistsDwelt on guilt and remorse over past sinsDiscontented with circumstances in AmericaWomen’s rights, slavery, poor educational system, lack of justice
19 Key Beliefs/Philosophies Belief in potential destructiveness of human spiritBelief in individual truths, not universal onesFocus on man’s uncertainty and limitations in the universeNature is vast and incomprehensible
20 Style Man vs. Nature conflicts – bring out evil in humanity Focus on protagonist’s inner strugglesUsually outsiders who are alienated from societyLots of symbolism and allegory