Presentation on theme: "Puritans, Rationalists, Romantics, Dark Romantics and Transcendentalists."— Presentation transcript:
Puritans, Rationalists, Romantics, Dark Romantics and Transcendentalists
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Puritanism “Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” H.L. Mencken
Puritans Vs. Pilgrims Pilgrims: Small group of Puritans who traveled on the Mayflower in 1620 to establish a “purified” church. Puritans: Settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony about 10 years after Mayflower Pilgrims came over. Also pilgrims, as in seeking a new home because of religious convictions. Reconstruct not only church, but man and man’s institutions as well.
Puritanism: A New Start in America Persecuted in England for going against the Protestant church/government Religion was an individual, personal, and internal experience. The individual’s relationship with God was not determined by a member of the clergy or the government—it was direct Believed that all humans were damned (depravity), but that some were meant to be saved.
Even More Major Ideas: Fate was pre-determined-- one couldn’t “save” oneself, but if one led a good life, one would be able to see the “signs” that meant one were saved Only God’s grace was an individual’s salvation. Dissenters were punished severely: flogging, banishment, death (Salem Witch Trials) Business was an important part of community, as was education
Puritan Community/Values: Contract-based (like convenant with God) government—beginnings of democracy Valued: self-awareness, industriousness, temperance, and simplicity
Salem Witch Trials
Salem Witch Trials: 1692 19 men and women (5 men) convicted and hung for witchcraft Daughter and niece of a prominent reverent fell ill. People called “witchcraft” and the witch hunt began People accused others by “calling out names” in fits, or sickness=panic Fear of the devil and his workings, paranoia born out of uncertainty and fear, factions in villages, competition with nearby towns, epidemic of smallpox After less than a year, the court disbanded, all those in prison for witchcraft were pardoned and the “witch hunt” was over Families were eventually given apologies and restitution
Puritan Writing Bible=model as people searched for connections between their lives and biblical events Each individual’s life was a spiritual journey, so recorded in diaries and historical documents describing the workings of God. Known for plain style of writing emphasizing clarity and avoiding complicated figures of speech
Puritan Writers Anne Bradstreet William Bradford Mary Rowlandson Reverend Jonathan Edwards
Anne Bradstreet Born in England in 1612 Well-educated Married Simon Bradstreet at 16, emigrated to Colonies in 1630 Wrote of her family, love for her husband, and love for God Wrote privately, but brother- in-law brought some poems to England where they were published Unusual for her to write poetry in this fashion as women were in more traditional roles in this society, but Bradstreet blended “depravity” with “hope” and didn’t challenge authority with her writing
Image Analysis: Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky What do you notice about Franklin in this painting? What is the viewer supposed to think about him? What is he doing? What subjects or ideas are highlighted in this painting? What do you notice in the background? How does this image contrast with the ideals of Puritanism that we discussed? Based on this image (and it’s title), what can you glean or infer about the time period this painting is meant to represent?
“The Age of Reason”: Rationalism The belief that human beings can arrive at truth by using reason Response to Puritanism starting around the end of the 17 th century Influenced by European “Enlightenment” (17 th and 18 th centuries) New ideas about God: “clockmaker” who gave humans the gift of reason which allows them to discover scientific and spiritual truth
Changing Trends… Puritans God=actively and mysteriously involved in the workings of the universe Everyone’s fate is pre- determined. Humans are inherently “sinners”. Bible contains all truth. Rationalists God=clockmaker of the universe God=gave humans the gift of reason aka the ability to think in an ordered, logical manner that allows them to discover both scientific and spiritual truth. Everyone has the capacity to regulate and improve his or her own life Deism—humanity’s goodness, God desires human happiness, basis for social welfare Scientific growth in order to discover “natural law”/improve lives
Franklin: Rationalist Henry Steele Commager: "In Franklin could be merged the virtues of Puritanism without its defects, the illumination of the Enlightenment without its heat.” Poor Richard’s Almanac, The Autobiography (self- made American, progress)
Famous “Tinkers,” Rationalist Writers, and Rationalist Literature: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry Declaration of Independence and related writings (Iroquois Constitution, Declaration of Sentiments) Persuasive political writings/speeches: ethos, logos, pathos Instruct upon values for self- improvement (Poor Richard’s Almanac)
“The American Dream” “We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak with our own minds.” --Ralph Waldo Emerson In what ways does this quote epitomize the idea of the “American Dream” during this time period? What is your definition of the American Dream?
American Romanticism: 1800-1860 Developed as a reaction to Rationalism/Industrial Revolution Influenced by German Romantic movements beginning in the second half of 18 th century Romantics saw the negative sides of progress (poverty, over-crowding, child labor, disease, dangerous living conditions) and responded with a call for intuition, freedom, imagination, individuality, nature, and poetry.
The Downsides of “Progress” Over-crowded Living Conditions Sickness/Poverty
Rationalism Vs. Romanticism
ROMANTICISM Belief that through imagination, one can discover truths that the rational mind couldn’t Imagination, individual feelings, and wild nature were > reason and logic Poetry=highest embodiment of imagination. Often contrasts science with nature. Escaping the “dull realities” to a realm of higher truth.
Romanticism’s “Siblings”: Transcendentalism Everything in the physical world is a reflection of the Divine Soul. Valued intuition over logic, and the ideas of self-reliance and self-improvement Nature is path to “transcend” the dull realities—signs and symbols in events/nature Optimistic/Utopian ideas about improving society (Brook Farm/Fruitlands) Dark Romanticism Valued intuition over logic and reason Saw signs and symbols in all events Made the connection between the spiritual existing in nature’s appearance Thought that Tran. ignored the “dark side” of Puritanism: original sin, good vs. evil, psychological effects of guilt/sin, madness.
Romantic Writers Romantics: “Fireside poets”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowe Ralph Waldo Emerson, H.D. Thoreau and other T’s James Fenimore Cooper Washington Irving Dark Romantics: Edgar Allen Poe Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville
Poe’s Quote Corner: Edgar Allen Poe: Sonnet “To Science” Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart, Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise? “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
Romantic Poetry Vs. Romantic Fiction Borrowed European style in order to show that Americans weren’t “hicks”. Sonnet form Reflected on natural world until the “dull realities” fell away to reveal underlying beauty or truth Developed a new “hero” for American Literature and explored the America unknown to Europe Borrowed some ideas/archetypes/folklore from Europe, but created an American “voice” in exploring them “It has been a marvel to my European readers, that a man from the wilds of America should express himself in tolerable English. I was looked upon as something new and strange […]” Washington Irving
The Romantic Hero Youthful or possesses youthful qualities Innocent and pure of purpose Has a sense of honor based not on society’s rules but on some higher principle Has knowledge of people and life based on deep, intuitive understanding not on formal learning Loves nature and avoids town life Quests for some higher truth in the natural world Reaction to stereotypes about Americans from European lens Development of American Romantic hero coincided with westward expansion Virtue in American innocence rather than European sophistication Still creating these heroes today: Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Superman, etc.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: “The Cross of Snow” Isolates nature to understand a “truth” Written about his wife, Fanny, who died after a tragic accident (fire) Written 18 years after her death, not published until after his Petrarchan Sonnet: Italian (iambic pentameter, octave, volta, sestet)
The Cross of Snow: Mt. Holy Cross, CO
Nathaniel Hawthorne: Dark Romantic “That blue-eyed darling Nathaniel knew disagreeable things in his inner soul. He was careful to send them out in disguise.” D.H. Lawrence
Transcendentalism: Developed in the 1830s both in connection with, and in opposition to Romanticism Transcendentalism refers to the idea that in finding God, the universe, and the self/soul, one must transcend typical human experience in the physical world Marked by a “return” to nature, and trust in intuition rather than deliberate rationality and intellectualism
Transcendentalism Believed that self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority, and self- improvement leads to social improvement Worked to find the “permanent reality that underlies physical appearance” Optimism about the potential of individual lives and the universe
Famous Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson AKA Lead Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau AKA neighbor and friend to L.T. Margret Fuller AKA one of the first major feminist writers in the US Amos Bronson Alcott AKA father to Louisa May Alcott
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862, born in Concord, MA. Went to Harvard, very well-read, but many felt he squandered his talents and connections (including Emerson) Influenced by Emerson Went “into the woods” to journey inwards in a T. fashion. Built a small cabin on Emerson’s land two miles from town. Lived there for three years, writing, thinking, and studying life
Thoreau Wrote “Resistance to Civil Government” while on Walden Pond after being arrested for not paying poll tax (supported Mexican- American War) because he felt it extended slavery. Died in 1862. Apparently asked on his deathbed if he’s made peace with God (by his aunt). His reply: “I didn’t know that we had ever quarreled.”
“Resistance to Civil Government” Response to being jailed for one night for not paying poll tax Discusses the role of the individual in society and to his/her government Employs rhetoric devices of: ethos, logos, pathos Inspired authors and thinkers like MLK and Gandhi around passive/non-violent resistance
Ethos, Logos, Pathos Ethos is appeal based on the character of the speaker or moral or widely accepted values and/or standards Logos is appeal based on logic or reason; it uses facts, examples, and well-reasoned arguments. Pathos: is an appeal based on emotion and language and anecdotes that arouse strong feelings. http://www.rpi.edu/dept/llc/webclass/web/project1/group4/