Presentation on theme: "Literary Romanticism What is it?. Early Literary Romanticism Characterized by complicated plots Well-developed characters unusual characters Exotic settings."— Presentation transcript:
Literary Romanticism What is it?
Early Literary Romanticism Characterized by complicated plots Well-developed characters unusual characters Exotic settings Traditional morality (i.e., ‘Biblical’) Sin Nature may be recognized
Complicated Plots... Multi-layered plots (as in UTC or Huck Finn) o Sub-plots o Plots woven together to make a whole o Plots based on traditional ideas of right and wrong o Logic and reason o Plots serve a purpose o To entertain, or o To educate (or practice Values Clarification)
Well-developed Characters Characters are heroes worthy of imitation Characters teach right and wrong by example and provide a moral compass o Good guys teach what to do o Bad guys teach what NOT to do Idealistic: larger than life
Unusual Characters A Worthy Christian slave in bitter circumstances A dying Christian girl A worst-case slave girl raised like an animal A northern woman in a home run by slaves A worst-ever father figure
Stereotypes provide social lessons The Southern belle lifestyle is not healthy Slavery ruins families Slavery ruins slave holders You cannot be ‘indifferent’ to the evil of slavery You must be willing to take action
Exotic Settings A slave-run farm An anti-typical New Orleans estate A Louisiana cotton plantation Life on a raft on the Mississippi River Castles, medieval times, tournaments Distant past, historic past, futuristic
Traditional Morality Heroes worthy of imitation provide a moral compass o Uncle Tom o Evangeline St. Clare o Miss Ophelia o Young George Shelby o Jim
As Romanticism progresses The influence of Christianity becomes more and more vague until it is nearly left behind as antiquated, outdated, & old-fashioned
Romanticism The exaltation of Nature
Romanticism Follow the heart, emotions, and instinct Reject moral absolutes Place blame on society Concentrate on Nature over civilization Relative truth Occult fantasies replace clockwork universe Elevation of Noble Savage image
Sensibility Follow your heart-it will never lie: emphasis on the individual, center of life/experience (in contrast with Prov. 3:5, Jer. 17:5, 9; 18:12, Acts 15:9. Self analysis; it’s all about me: Voltaire, Rousseau, Wordsworth, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman. What is unique in a person is important.
Revolution of all Propriety In 150 years... The rejection of religious absolutes in 1859 eventually leads to the absurd in 2009
Innocence Replaces Wisdom Society and civilization are to blame! We begin to see ‘ethical dilemmas’ where ‘wrong’ is the ‘right thing’ to do We call this ‘situational ethics’ We see extraordinary characters (usually neurotic) in unusual circumstances
The Green Concept The Exaltation of Nature Literature will exalt the wild and natural, and scorn the artificial
Imagination Replaces Reality Literature will focus on the importance of intuition and relative truth
Dark Romanticism Occult fantasies replace clockwork universe: Dracula, Frankenstein, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Peter Pan-type characters emerge
The Noble Savage Civilization is to blame for man’s problems (e.g., Tarzan is more ethically-minded than any civilized man he meets). The Nobel Savage is resultant from the rejection of Original Sin; Tarzan and Huck Finn are unspoiled by human society; Society is to blame for behaviors, not a Sin Nature.
Spiritual Dilemma of the Noble Savage A secular version of a spiritual dilemma sets the romantic individual in a tension between individual freedom and social constraint. Without the Bible (e.g., Heb. 4:12) to validate moral absolutes, there is no solution to spiritual dilemmas (2 Tim. 3:16, 17).
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Literary Heroes Literary heroes are no longer moral paragons subject to a universal standard The anti-hero develops in literature to explore the individual experience and explore traditional concepts of morality
What Happened? Prior to 1859 and the publication of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, the humanistic ideals of the Enlightenment/Deism/Age of Reason were not enough to jettison God from the universe. Everything changed in 1859
The Origin of Species (1859) EVOLUTION BY NATURAL SELECTION ‘Enlightened’ thinkers rejected God completely from their ‘clockwork universe’ model and their ‘blind watchmaker’ model. The clock needs a designer-creator The watchmaker implies intelligence
A New Worldview Paradigm Darwin’s theory needs no Creator Darwin’s theory needs no Savior Darwin’s theory needs no supernatural element
A New Worldview Paradigm Everything will be explained in terms of natural processes This is what makes Darwin more important than Newton or Einstein to the secular world
A New Worldview Paradigm Darwin negates the need for God Religion becomes a ‘crutch’ for the unenlightened
One hundred years later in 1959 The propaganda movie, Inherit the Wind, hit the movie screen
Based loosely on the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial Inherit the Wind helped to elevate Darwin’s theory to monumental stature by depicting religion as the enemy of open scientific inquiry
The next 100 years... Darwin’s theory of natural selection has gained favor in the growing secular world It is now ‘the fact’ to be accepted rather than a scientific theory subject to critical analysis
Scientific or Social? Darwin's own involvement with these ideas is relatively murky. Some of his writings suggest strong sympathies for the social application of his theories:
From Origin of the Species: “With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the progress of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick;
Continued we institute poor-laws....Thus, the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”
Hmmmm... It is worth noting here that Darwin's argument is not scientific, but social, and that he makes some rather grand assumptions about a breeder's ability to select advantageous traits....
In the final estimation, social Darwinism appears to be a reaction to what was perhaps the most unsettling revelation of Darwinism: the rescinding of humanity's providential purpose....
Humans no longer appeared to exist for any particular reason. The earth didn't need us, and had probably existed for a long time without us....
Social Darwinism used this theological void to challenge notions of social charity, but also to recast humanity's purpose as willful self- perfection. Glossary entry: ‘Social Darwinism’
The Strength of Darwinism is its Biggest Weakness The Fossil Record and the lack of transitional forms The Forgeries include: Java man, Nebraska man, Piltdown man, Peking man, and Lucy, not to mention the phenomenon of China's thriving fake fossil business reported in the February 2003 issue of Discover.
Java Man – the famous thigh bone Found on the Indonesian island of Java in 1892: A thigh bone A large skull cap Three teeth The pieces were found one year and 50 feet apart The pieces were called the ‘missing link’ and Java Man eventually became widely accepted as such, in spite of the fact that a leading authority had identified two of the teeth as those of an orangutan, and the other as human.
What does Evolution have to do with Literature? We see the evolutionary worldview reflected in all secular literature shortly after Origin of the Species is published We also see the evolutionary worldview reflected in much theological literature as the Bible is analyzed by ‘new’ science!
What should we expect to see in literature?
Shifting Worldviews REALISM
REALSIM NATURALISM NB: they overlap
REALISM Like all literary movements, the lines between early romanticism and Realism are impossible to draw. Realism merges into Romantic literature to serve a need (educate the reading audience)
Realism: The Narrator An Objective, Neutral Narrator The narrator does not judge the morals in the story as right or wrong He just tells the facts of the story as they occur
Realism: Expect Social Darwinism Social Darwinism suggested that in a society of competitors, those who "won" prevailed through superior breeding. Those who failed—poor, African-American, Irish, etc.—did so because of inferior breeding.
Realism: Expect Social Darwinism Social Darwinists tended to focus their arguments on the poor and infirm, where the struggle of the species (and its supposedly less fit examples) was most evident Expect to see stories about the poor and the struggling
Realism: Social Awareness Expect to read critical appraisals of society and its institutions Society will be questioned Institutions will be questioned
Realism: the language Expect coarse, frank, brutal descriptions
Realism: Literary Characters Expect a focus on literary character rather than plot (romanticism focused on plots and settings, besides characters) Loss of the literary hero: no bigger-than-life pattern to imitate
Realism does NOT like... Sentimental Fiction Idealistic Fiction because...
REALISM Life is short: then you die
Realism Rejection of moral absolutes and traditional Christianity Expect an exploration of Christian ethics and values
Realism Realism may trivialize or profane things you hold to be sacred: Marriage, family, children’s roles, clergy, church
Realism and Christianity Some Christian writers adopt realism to effect changes in morality or society: Harriet Beecher Stowe: Uncle Tom’s Cabin Frank Peretti: This Present Darkness Randy Alcorn: Deadline
Shifting Worldviews NATURALISM
What should we expect to see in literature?
REALSIM NATURALISM NB: they overlap
MODERNISM IN AMERICAN LITERATURE
NATURALISM I. WORLD WAR I ( ), the “war to end all wars” – Post-War cultural upheaval brings a decline in American worldview reflected in literature
The USA entered the war after three years, declaring war on Germany April 6, A truce was signed November 11 th, The US entered social upheaval.
a.Increased mobility of Americans: - the automobile a.Modern Communications: radio (1922) and television (1930 about 200 sets worldwide, by million) a.Silent Movies (1913) talkies by late 20s, color by 1960
d.“The lost generation” despite the gay look, the prosperity, the youth were called the lost generation. Named this by Gertrude Stein. No stable, traditional values, individual loss of identity, no supportive family life, no familiar small town community, with life revolving around planting and harvesting activities. All were undermined by WWI and its aftermath
II.THE ROARING TWENTIES, or the Jazz Age
a. Irresponsibility i. Political US had just fought for democracy and now ignored the world, after merging as the strongest world power. We pursued a policy of political isolationism. We were anxious to forget the war. Entering WWI we had recognized that America’s interests do extend beyond our own borders, but we now introverted our focus.
ii. Moral Shocked and permanently changed, Americans returned to their homeland but could never regain their innocence. Western youths were rebelling, angry and disillusioned. In a search for personal freedom and new interests, we threw aside the traditional values of the previous generations. The most popular dance was the Charleston - the wildest dance - a type of moral abandonment. The dance symbolized the behavior of many people. We began pursuing pleasure and wealth.
I. T.S.Eliot’s long poem, The Waste Land (1922) Western civilization is symbolized by a bleak desert in desperate need of rain (spiritual renewal).
iii. Leisure has been declared the basis of culture. Leisure provided the freedom for men like Jefferson and Franklin (and later, Einstein) to develop invention, read, write, and further theological understanding.
iv. Mindless Entertainment stifles creativity and precludes contemplation of God and theological issues Most people went to the movies once a week!
a. The Flapper: American women, in particular, felt ‘liberated’ Many had left farms and villages for homefront duty in American cities during World War I, and had become resolutely modern. They cut their hair short ("bobbed"), wore short "flapper" dresses, and gloried in the right to vote assured by the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1920.
b. The Bootlegger: Illegal alcohol during Prohibition
c. Lawlessness: Gang leaders like Al Capone ruled cities, making millions from liquor, extortion, and prostitution. You’ve seen corrupt police and corrupt politicians in old movies depicting this era.
d. Church Attendance: fell to the lowest level in our country’s history!
v. Economic Personal Wealth: The post-war Big Boom The Wall Street speculation and lifestyle depicted in Melville’s “Bartleby.” In 1914 our nation had 4,500 millionaires. By 1926 we had 11,000. Land sales boomed in warmer climates, like California and Florida. Many people purchased the ultimate status symbol -- an automobile.
The typical urban American home glowed with electric lights and boasted a radio that connected the house with the outside world, and perhaps a telephone, a camera, a typewriter, or a sewing machine, all modern and American made.
1. "The chief business of the American people is business," President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed in 1925, and most agreed.
III. THE GREAT DEPRESSION: Black Tuesday, October 29 th, the bottom dropped out of the stock market. Within 3 years, even the most stable stocks had plummeted. General Motors dropped from $91 per share to $7. Sears Roebuck dropped from $181 to $9.
a. Bank Failures: Business failures i.Economic disaster: Drastic rates of unemployment. Millions lost both jobs and their savings. Yes, your great-grandparents saved.
ii. New Deal Programs set up by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ( ): My mom was born in Our confidence was replaced by unrest. The Depression was worldwide, but we felt it more because our previous decade had been so prosperous.
By out of every 6 or 7 Americans was on government relief. The average annual family income for a third of the nation was less than $500. The upper third of Americans lived on $2,000 annually.
A Plymouth cost just over $500, a loaf of bread $.10, and a pound of apples was $.05. Prosperity did not return until the 1940s. Midwestern droughts turned the "breadbasket" of America into a dust bowl. Many farmers left the Midwest for California in search of jobs, as vividly described in:
l. John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (1939) At the peak of the Depression, one-third of all Americans were out of work. Soup kitchens, shanty towns, and armies of hobos -- unemployed men illegally riding freight trains -- became part of national life.
Many saw the Depression as a punishment for sins of excessive materialism and loose living. This novel is the stark account of the Judd family in the poverty of the Oklahoma dust bowl and their migration to California during the Depression of the 1930s.
IV. WORLD WAR II a. America blinded by economic worries