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Romanticism in America (1820s-1860s) Derives from Medieval period “Romance”: means “a story”: roman Transatlantic literary and cultural movement 1770s-1860.

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Presentation on theme: "Romanticism in America (1820s-1860s) Derives from Medieval period “Romance”: means “a story”: roman Transatlantic literary and cultural movement 1770s-1860."— Presentation transcript:

1 Romanticism in America (1820s-1860s) Derives from Medieval period “Romance”: means “a story”: roman Transatlantic literary and cultural movement 1770s-1860 Reaction against the “Age of Reason” Initially, a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms Revolutionary wars influence Appears later in US Cooper, Dickinson, Douglass, Hawthorne, Irving, Melville, Poe, Whitman, Fuller

2 Characteristics of Romanticism Individualism Spiritual and metaphysical Imagination and intuition Democracy Nature Emotions Exotic Escapism Common man Irrational universe Sublime Perfectibility of man Idealism Nationalism Caspar David Friedrich, The Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, 1818

3 Social Context Frontier/west ward movement Immigration/ new cultures Polarization of north and south Second Great Awakening Thomas Cole. Landscape Scene from the Last of the Mohicans Oil on canvas. New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, NY, USA.

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7 Link to Video "The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane." 1858 John Quidor ( ) American painter (and friend of Washington Irving)

8 Nathaniel Hawthorne ( ) Born July 4, 1804 in Salem, MA Father died at sea when he was 4 years old Puritan background Salem witchcraft trials/ancestor was a judge Brook Farm for a year (transcendental community) Colonial history (source for many of his stories) Twice told tales (1837) Married Sophia Peabody in 1842; they live in Emerson’s “Old Manse”; 3 children Friends include Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, Longfellow Reclusive personality Government jobs Scarlet letter (1850): international acclaim Portrait, Nathaniel Hawthorne, by Charles Osgood, 1840, Peabody Essex Museum

9 Hawthorne’s works do not have black and white characters and are filled with ambiguity. Name some common themes found in our readings and how they reflect this complexity Think about the main protagonists in the stories. What kind of transformations, if any, did they undergo? How is Hawthorne trying to mediate, or find a middle ground, between Puritan worldview and transcendentalism? Did you notice the duality in Hawthorne’s writings. He is constantly trying to see both sides/perspectives.

10 Textual questions The Minister’s Black Veil How does Hawthorne describe the veil? How do the townspeople react to the veil? What is the significance of the first sermon Why is father hooper wearing the veil? What does Hooper’s final words mean? Young Goodman Brown How does the setting play a role in the story? What is the significance of the pink ribbons? What do we learn about human nature in this story? Why does Brown lose “his faith”? What is your interpretation of the story? Compare Brown’s transformation with Pastor Hooper. Which character really comes to understand human nature and himself?

11 Textual questions My Kinsman, Major Molineaux How does Hawthorne describe Robin? What does the smell of tar foreshadow? What is the significance of the lady in the scarlet petticoat? How does Hawthorne use laughter? What is the significance of the man with the painted face? What kind of journeys are taken in this story? what does Robin’s reaction to his relative’s situation say about human nature? What do you think Hawthorne’s message is in this story? What is the significance of the preface in my kinsman and the maypole? The Maypole of Merry Mount How does Hawthorne portray the revelers and the Puritans? How does Hawthorne use images of light and dark? What is the significance of the punishment dealt out to the revelers? What does this story say about traditional gender roles? What does it mean when Endicott throws the wreath of roses over the married couple’s head and calls is a “deed of prophecy”? How does Hawthorne use historical events to comment on contemporary issues? Are these themes still relevant?

12 Group discussion questions Look for major images (characters, setting, clothing, canes, twigs, trees, ribbons, lanterns, etc). What do these images represent? Identify the major themes What is the story about on the surface? Then, tell us what the story is really about (allegory)? What does Hawthorne seem to condemn? Uphold? Admire? How does Hawthorne use fantasy and dreams in his work? Does it matter if the event really happened? Why or why not? Why do you think Hawthorne continues to be a major literary figure? What elements of the gothic do you find in Hawthorne’s writings? Compare/contrast Hawthorne’s short stories to Brown’s Edgar Huntly. What similarities and difference do you find?


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