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American Romanticism 1800-1860. Objectives Understand the historical and social forces that shaped American Romanticism Interpret the way historical context.

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Presentation on theme: "American Romanticism 1800-1860. Objectives Understand the historical and social forces that shaped American Romanticism Interpret the way historical context."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Romanticism

2 Objectives Understand the historical and social forces that shaped American Romanticism Interpret the way historical context influenced literary works in the Romantic Period Understand the relevance of the Romantic era to our own day

3 American Romanticism Most students assume that “Romanticism” means that we are studying love poems. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!!! American Romanticism can best be described as a journey away from the corruption of civilization and the limits of classical, rational thought. American Romantics moved the away from the rigid structure of the classics and to the appreciation of imagination and intuition over reason.

4 Political Influences on American Romanticism The ideals of American democracy The tensions caused by growing concerns over the rights of women The problem of slavery Westward expansion

5 The Romantic Sensibility: Celebrating the Imagination Romanticism is the name given to any schools of thought that value feeling and intuition over reason. The repulsive and wretched working and living conditions in the cities showed the limits of reason. The Romantics believed that the imagination could comprehend truths that could not be reached with reason alone. These truths were often accompanied by powerful emotion, and were associated with natural, unspoiled beauty. The Romantics valued poetry above all other works of the imagination.

6 Romanticism Classicism

7 Romantic Escapism Romantics wanted to rise above “dull realities” to find a realm of higher truth. There were two ways that the Romantics tried to understand higher truths. – One was to explore the past, the exotic and the supernatural. – The other was to contemplate the natural world.

8 Aspects of Romanticism Fireside Poets – appreciation of nature and imagination Transcendentalists – believed in the importance of the individual and living in harmony with nature Gothics/Darks – focused on the exotic and supernatural

9 Fireside Poets American poetry at this time was so popular that “The Fireside Poets” of this time are still among the most famous (and successful) American poets. The Fireside Poets are Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell They were called The Fireside Poets because families often read their poetry around the fire as a form of entertainment.

10 Transcendentalists Came from “Transcendent” – knowledge that exists beyond reason or experience Emphasized living a simple life and celebrating the truth found in nature Favored personal emotion and imagination Believed people were inherently good

11 Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered to be a founding writer and philosopher within the American romantic movement. Emerson is perhaps best known for his essays, from which emerge the grounding notions of Transcendentalism. “Self-Reliance,” “Nature”

12 Henry David Thoreau Wrote about living as one with nature and being self-reliant Thoreau presents an exploration of self- discipline and self-discovery which resonates significantly through American literature. Considered one of the first environmentalists “Civil Disobedience,” “Walden”

13 Gothics/Darks Considered Romantics but explored the darker side of human existence Awareness for human capacity and evil Probing of the inner life of the characters and the mysterious forces that shape human behavior Grotesque characters, bizarre situations, and violent events

14 Edgar Allan Poe Pioneer of the detective story First major author of science fiction and fantasy Considered to be the master of the gothic form which explored human psychology from the inside with first person narrators “The Raven,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Cask of Amontillado”

15 Nathaniel Hawthorne Examined the darker facets of the human soul Agreed with the romantic ideals of emotion and the individual Many of Hawthorne’s stories are set in Puritan America The Scarlett Letter, “The Minister’s Black Veil”

16 Herman Melville Mostly adventure stories set in the South Pacific Explores issues such as madness and the conflict of good and evil Moby Dick

17 Romanticism Today Many of these writers had a huge effect on literature and society today: Stephanie Meyer Stephen King Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi Political movements Environmentalism


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