Presentation on theme: "American Literature 030533/4/5, 13rd Oct. 2006. The American Romanticism (III) Lecture Five."— Presentation transcript:
American Literature /4/5, 13rd Oct. 2006
The American Romanticism (III) Lecture Five
The Representatives of American Renaissance
III. The Novelists Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville Edgar Allen Poe
Nathaniel Hawthorne ( )
1.Three important things in his life: 1)The study in Bowdoin College 2)The marriage with Sophia Peabody 3)The publication of The Scarlet Letter 2.His Works: Fours novels: 1)The Scarlet Letter (his masterpiece) 2)The House of the Seven Gables: the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the successive ones and that evil will come out of evil though it may take many generations to happen. 3)The Blithedale Romance: experience of transcendentalists experiment. 4)The Marble Faun: evil educates. The achievement is possible only under the impact of and by engagement with evil. Two collections of short stories:
1)Twice-Told Tales 2)Mosses form an Old Manse 3.Evaluation to him: He, the first great American novelist, is an extremely paradoxical figure. Except for Whitman he was the most democratic of all our great nineteenth century writers but he was also, in many of his views and his political affiliation, the most conservative. In an age of ardent reformers he was certain that society could be changed only gradually. In a period of unbridled individualism he thought that the greatest threat to man’s happiness lay in his growing apart from his fellow men. In a time of increasing national power and prosperity, when both the small but important group of intellectuals and the great mass of practical men were altogether optimistic, he felt that somehow things were going wrong., that it was less and less possible for man to live throughout the whole range of his faculties and sensibilities. In his era not only the transcendentalists but even most conventional American Christians had virtually, if unconsciously, discarded the old Puritan belief in original sin and felt that man was perfectible.
Herman Melville ( )
1.Two Important Things in his life: 1)We should mention his marriage. In the history of American literature there were two authors had similar marriages. Melville and Scott Fitzgerald, both married above them and had to do hackwork （纯粹为糊口而写的东西，庸俗作品） for the money they needed to keep their wives in their extravagant style. 2)During the summer of 1890 Melville and Hawthorne met and became good friends. They shared similar ideas and opinions on most kinds of fields. 2.His Masterpiece: Moby Dick 1)It is an encyclopedia of everything, history, philosophy, religion, etc. 2)The main theme of it is about alienation between man and man, man and society, and man and nature. 3)This work also reveals the basic pattern of nineteenth century American life: loneliness and suicidal individualism in a self- styled democracy.
4)In this work Melville shows that Man in this universe lives a meaningless and futile life, meaningless because futile. Man can observe and even manipulate in a prudent way, but he cannot influence and overcome nature at its source. He must, ultimately, place himself at the mercy of nature. Once he attempts to seek power over it he is doomed. It show us the “the absurdity of man’s attempts to attribute meaning and value to a world in which these can have no ground or status.” （ the main reason for Melville’s resurrection in the present century. ） 5)Symbolism and ambiguity is the major characteristics of writing techniques. 3.Needless to speak, Melville has been on the pedestal ever since, because he spoke ahead of his time.
Edgar Allen Poe ( )
1.Poe stands alone in the history of American literature. For a long time after his death he remained probably the most controversial and most misunderstood literary figure. Some people even painted him as a Bohemian, depraved and demonic, a villain with no virtue at all. Mark Twain declared his prose to be unreadable. But Eliot proclaimed him a critic of the first rank. He enjoyed respect and welcome greatly in Europe. 2.He is the father of psychoanalytic criticism. In deed, Poe places the subconscious condition of the mind under investigation and probes beneath the surface of normal existence. What interests him most is the deep abyss of the unconscious and subconscious mental activity of the people, the subterranean recesses of the mind at work. 3.His tale The Murders in the Rue Morgue, an ingenious detective story, became the ancestor of the genre.
4.His theories for the short story and poetry are remarkable in their clarity even if they lack intellectual detachment and catholicity of taste. 5.He was the first author in American literature to make the neurotic the heroic figure, the protagonist, in his stories. 6.As a short story writer, Poe was a fascinating man of imagination interested in deduction and induction. And half a dozen of his stories belong to （ Ratiocinative ）
7.His aesthetics and conscious craftsmanship, his attack on “the heresy of didactic” and his call for “the rhythmical creation of beauty” have influenced French symbolists and the devotes of “art for art’s sake”. 8.His masterpiece “Raven” reveals a central theme: the human mind would be healthy and alive if it were incapable of thought, but since it is a mind and does possess the power of introspection and self-knowledge, then that very power and knowledge spell its death. In other words, thought is the constituent of the mind, but the act of thinking can be its undoing. 9.Poe’s style is traditional but he is difficult to read.
IV. The Abolitionists Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Jacobs Harriet Wilson Frederick Dougless
Harriet Beecher Stowe ( )
1.Harriet Beecher Stowe ( ) is best known today as the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which helped galvanize the abolitionist cause and contributed to the outbreak of the Civil War. After the publication, it became very popular all over the world and was translated into over 60 languages. 2.Uncle Tom's Cabin humanized slavery by telling the story of individuals and families. Harriet portrayed the physical, sexual, and emotional abuse endured by enslaved people. Especially by creating Eliza, she hoped to convey to others the terror the fugitive slave mother would feel and how terrible it would be for a slave mother to lose a child because the child was sold.
3.The success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin reflected the idea that slavery in the United States, the nation that purportedly embodied democracy and equality for all, was an injustice of colossal proportions. 4.According to legend, when Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe in 1862 he said, "So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this Great War!" 5.Ironically, the novel was not originally intended as an attack on the South, but to reconcile the North and South which were drifting toward the Civil War a decade away. Ultimately, though, the book was used by abolitionists and others as a polemic against the South. The supplementary material: The supplementary material: