2ObjectivesUnderstand the historical and social forces that shaped American RomanticismInterpret the way historical context influenced literary works in the Romantic PeriodUnderstand the relevance of the Romantic era to our own day
3American RomanticismMost 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.
4Political Influences on American Romanticism The ideals of American democracyThe tensions caused bygrowing concerns over the rights of womenThe problem of slaveryWestward expansion
5The 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.
7Romantic EscapismRomantics 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.
8Aspects of Romanticism Fireside Poets – appreciation of nature and imaginationTranscendentalists – believed in the importance of the individual and living in harmony with natureGothics/Darks – focused on the exotic and supernatural
9Fireside PoetsAmerican 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 LowellThey were called The Fireside Poets because families often read their poetry around the fire as a form of entertainment.
10TranscendentalistsCame from “Transcendent” – knowledge that exists beyond reason or experienceEmphasized living a simple life and celebrating the truth found in natureFavored personal emotion and imaginationBelieved people were inherently good
11Ralph Waldo EmersonRalph 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”
12Henry David ThoreauWrote about living as one with nature and being self-reliantThoreau presents an exploration of self-discipline and self-discovery which resonates significantly through American literature.Considered one of the first environmentalists“Civil Disobedience,” “Walden”
13Gothics/DarksConsidered Romantics but explored the darker side of human existenceAwareness for human capacity and evilProbing of the inner life of the characters and the mysterious forces that shape human behaviorGrotesque characters, bizarre situations, and violent events
14Edgar Allan Poe Pioneer of the detective story First major author of science fiction and fantasyConsidered 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”
15Nathaniel Hawthorne Examined the darker facets of the human soul Agreed with the romantic ideals of emotion and the individualMany of Hawthorne’s stories are set in Puritan AmericaThe Scarlett Letter,“The Minister’s Black Veil”
16Herman Melville Mostly adventure stories set in the South Pacific Explores issues such as madness and the conflict of good and evilMoby Dick
17Romanticism TodayMany of these writers had a huge effect on literature and society today:Stephanie MeyerStephen KingMartin Luther King Jr.GandhiPolitical movementsEnvironmentalism