Presentation on theme: "For review of the OG's: There are four main parts to this material in the following order. Traditionalism against which Romanticism revolted: 1. Puritanism."— Presentation transcript:
For review of the OG's: There are four main parts to this material in the following order. Traditionalism against which Romanticism revolted: 1. Puritanism 2. Work Ethic 3. Gender traditionalism Major points are in gray/black boxes The Romantic revolt comes under 3 headings: Authenticity Part One: INTUITION: Discover one's true self Major points are in green boxes Authenticity Part Two: EXPRESSIVISM: Express your true self Major Points are in red boxes Authenticity Part 3: INTEGRITY Have the integrity to maintain your true self Major points are in blue boxes:
1.Discover one’s nature Listen to the still small voice Ignore conventional wisdom authenticity 2. Express one’s nature: be nonconformist Develop one’s inborn abilities 3. Have the integrity to resist coercion out of one’s authentic life and seduction back into a conventional life.
expressivism Once one has discovered one’s true nature or self, one must express that self in one’s entire way of life and work
A note on freedom The meaning of the word “freedom” has undergone an evolution in American history. In the early days of the Republic when Americans said “we are a Free people” they meant that they were a sovereign nation, no Longer under the dominion of England. They meant independence Later the word came to have a primarily domestic usage: Americans boasted of their freedom meaning that they were Politically free. They voted, they decided what policies would be. This became associated with democracy. Americans were Free because they lived in a democracy
Under the influence of Romanticism “free” came to have a third Meaning: to be able to live as one wanted, free from the Requirement to live as others lived, free from the requirement That they define morality as their communities did. John Stuart Mill expressed this new sense in his Classic work “On Liberty”
Protection therefore against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough;there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by means other than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them, to fetter the development, and if possible, prevent the formation of, any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859
I n On Liberty Mill proposed a rule for the acceptability of government and social action that has since become the standard around which Romantics rally: The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, In interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self- protection.The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.
This mea ns that we cannot coerce or compel anyone To act a certain way just because we think it is Morally correct or respectable or normal. People are free to live as they wish as long as their Actions don’t directly harm someone else. They may be unconventional, offensive, eccentric, Weird, rude, and even immoral in the eyes of others, But they have a right to be so without interference From others. And if people find their behavior unacceptable, they Are free to try to persuade the weirdos to change Their ways: but they may not compel them to do so.
Mill continues: Human liberty requires “liberty of conscience... Liberty of Thought and feeling; absolute freedom of opinion and Sentiment on all subjects...the principle requires liberty of tastes and pursuits; of framing the plan of our life to suit our own character; of doing as we like, subject to such consequences as may follow Without impediment from our fellow creatures, so long as What we do does not harm them, even though they should Think our conduct foolish, perverse, or wrong... The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way So long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, Or impede their efforts to attain it.
Mill uses a quote from Wilhelm von Humboldt As the epigram for his book: The grand leading principle... is the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity.
Emerson agrees: Whilst I do what is fit for me, and abstain from what is unfit, my neighbor and I shall often agree in our means, and work together for a time to one end. But whenever I find my dominion over myself not sufficient for me, and undertake the direction of him also, I overstep the truth, and come into false relations to him. I may have so much more skill or strength than he, that he cannot express adequately his sense of wrong, but it is a lie, and hurts like a lie both him and me. Love and nature cannot maintain the assumption: it must be executed by a practical lie, namely, by force. This undertaking for another, is the blunder which stands in colossal ugliness in the governments of the world. It is the same thing in numbers, as in a pair, only not quite so intelligible. I can see well enough a great difference between my setting myself down to a self-control, and my going to make somebody else act after my views: but when a quarter of the human race assume to tell me what I must do, I may be too much disturbed by the circumstances to see so clearly the absurdity of their command. Therefore, all public ends look vague and quixotic beside private ones
It is no accident that major social movements in the last fifty years have been liberation movements, or that the keyword in these struggles has been freedom, rather than equality or justice. Nor is it surprising that the Women’s Movement felt it necessary to struggle for women’s liberation even though women had the vote and had (almost) all the same political freedoms as men.
It was Mill, himself a very proper Victorian English gentleman, who put forth the idea that a society needed to encourage eccentrics because, he said, they are a laboratory for social experimentation. It is they who try things out that should not be first tried on a large-scale, things that most of us would be unwilling or afraid to try. We all benefit, Mill argues, because we can learn from these experiments, and then incorporate whatever works and avoid whatever doesn’t. Let those hippies experiment with “free love”-- if all goes well, perhaps we can loosen the conven- tional rules about courtship to allow pre-marital sex and living together before marriage.
Every law, every convention or rule of art that prevents self-expression or the full enjoyment of the moment should be shattered and abolished. Puritanism is the great enemy. The crusade against puritanism is the only crusade with which free individuals are justified In allying themselves Malcolm Cowley ( ), literary critic
Each man’s, each woman’s, purpose in life is to express himself, to realize his full individuality through creative work. -- Malcolm Cowley Sara Wheeler, in Terra Incognita, quotes a man who drives a very very large ice tractor in Antarctica: “You see, Sara,”said Gerald, taking off his glasses, “I can’t paint, or write, or hold a rhythm. I express myself by making perfect surfaces on ice.”
Contrast 6: what is the meaning of life? Romantics: to express one’s true nature Christians version 1: to get to Heaven, glorify God etc. Reformers: to make the world a better place Altruists: to do good for others Christians version 2: the Social Gospel: to feed the hungry, clothe the naked as commanded in the Sermon on the Mount Jews: to do justice on earth traditionalists: to fulfill the duties of one’s situation moralists: to always do what’s right. Existentialists: to avoid bad faith and live freely Plato et al.: to find the truth, to live a life of the mind --this is not an exhaustive list.
Cameo: Dorothy Day
For the ease and pleasure of treading the old road, accepting the fashions, the education, the religion of society, he takes the cross of making his own, and, of course, the self-accusation, the faint heart, the frequent uncertainty and loss of time, which are the nettles and tangling vines in the way of the self-relying and self-directed; and the state of virtual hostility in which he seems to stand to society, and especially to educated society. For all this loss and scorn, what offset? He is to find consolation in exercising the highest functions of human nature.
Pathologically resistant to authority imposed from above, he was intent on creating...something using all the means of expression at his disposal which he would then personally unify into a piece of work bearing the unmistakable imprint of his own personality. It may be no good, he was often to say of his work, but at least it’s mine. More than anything else, more than any idea or concept, more than any human feeling or interpretation of experience, this is what Welles stood for: the insistence on imprinting his own personality on his work.
Believe in yourself for what you are, There is only one judge of your work, and that is yourself; to hell with those who don’t understand! --Henry Matisse, 20th century French painter
I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing-even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years. --Thelonious Monk, jazz pianist and composer
Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist... nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. I have my own stern claims... If anyone imagines that this law is lax, let him keep its commandment one day. --Emerson
The one thing a man fears next to death is the loss of his good name...the only way he can find respect for himself is by getting other people to say he's a nice fellow. But some men don't need the respect of their neighbors, and so they aren't afraid to speak the truth. --Arthur Miller
In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humoured inflexibility, then most when the cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with same our opinion from another. --Emerson
The danger is not that loyalties are divided today but that they may be undivided tomorrow.... I would urge each individual to avoid total involve- ment in any organization; to seek to whatever extent lies within his power to limit each group to the minimum control necessary for performance of essential functions; to struggle against the effort to absorb; to lend his energies to many organizations and give himself completely to none; to teach children,in the home and in the school, "to be laws unto themselves and to depend on themselves," as Walt Whitman urged us many years ago--for that is the well source of the Independent spirit. --Clark Kerr, creator and chancellor of the UC system.
NONCONFORMISM: one must not follow the conventional paths in life. Robert Frost, The Road not Taken
most of Walt Whitman’s "Song of Myself" has to do not with the self searching for a final identity but with the self escaping a series of identities which threaten to destroy its lively and various spontaneity
Where the old capitalist had a rock glint, "I'm a crazy old bastard," he would confide to any reporter, thinking of his ability to water the stock of widows and head the drive to distribute Christmas packages to the poor, proud of every paradox in him, as if in the boil of his contradictions were the soups and nutrients of his strength, so his son was a dull-eyed presence, a servant of reason-contradictions as odious to him as words of filth before a table of the immaculate conception. -Norman Mailer Here we see a semi-Romantic view: the old capitalist may have been nasty and immoral but he was an individual; his son is a nonentity, “dull-eyed,” a “servant of reason.” (Emerson though would not have agreed that an immoral self was authentic. Nature is good, he thought. But the idea that it’s better to be a bad oneself than a good imitation of someone else is persistent in Romantics after Emerson.) John D. Rockefeller
Hart, a reader of NR from the start and a on-andoff staffer since 1969, knew and worked with most of these old lions of the right; his nostalgic yearning for the days of irrepressible, unique characters is palpable. (Check out Hart’s accounts of Kendall’s drunken late-night calls to Yale’s dean demanding his tenure be bought out, or his speeding the wrong way down California freeways.) Love them or hate them, these fellows were originals, not well suited to building up or following any party line. That’s one reason you’ll hardly hear about them in the magazine these days. Over the years National Review became more and more a GOP salesman, cementing the Burnham attitude that NR must stand for the most conservative electable candidate, must always plump for the possible, must never stand outrageously outside the status quo. Even conservatives hunger for individualism
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self. Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”
Ordinary work suppresses individuality For more on this theme, see any Dilbert cartoon
A classic film on this theme is Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times where Charlie gets caught in the cogs and wheels of industrialization
Traditional family/gender roles suppress individuality
Traditional roles repress sexuality
Traditional roles repress joy and spontaneity
To dream magnificently is not a gift given to all men, and even for those who possess it, it runs a strong risk of being progressively diminished by the ever-growing dissipation of modern life and by the restlessness engendered by material progress. The ability to dream is a divine and mysterious ability; because it is through dreams that man communicates with the shadowy world which surrounds him. But this power needs solitude to develop freely; the more one concentrates, the more one is likely to dream fully, deeply. --Charles Baudelaire You will lose touch with your intuition; Your imagination will wither.
Success in dealing with the world as it is inevitably diminishes the ability to imagine it as it might be. --Thomas Carlyle
It reminded me of how children always thought too big; how the world tackled and chiseled them to keep them safe. Certainly “safe” is what I am now-or am supposed to be. Safety is in me, holds me straight, like a spine. My blood travels no new routes, simply knows its way, lingers, grows drowsy and fond. Though there are times..in the small city where we live, when I’ve left my husband for a late walk, the moon out hanging upside down like some garish, show-offy bird, like some fantastical mistake-what life of offices and dull tasks could have a moon in it flooding the sky and streets, without its seeming preposterous-and in my walks, toward the silent corners, the cold mulchy smells, the treetops suddenly waving in the wind, I’ve felt an old wildness again. Revenant and drunken. It isn’t sexual, not really. It has more to do with adventure and escape, like a boy’s desire to run away, revving thwartedly like a wish, twisting in me like a bolt, some shadow fastened at the feet and gunning for the rest, though, finally, it has always stayed to one side, as it were some other impossible life and knew it, like a good dog, good dog. It has always stayed. --Lorrie Moore, From the Frog Hospital
You must shock the Bourgeois. (Il faut epater le bourgeois.) Charles Baudelaire ( ), French poet
The shock of the new
Lige and I, reflecting a new generation, had--before grown our locks, donning those fashionable breeches of the time, bell bottoms. No longer did I have what Whitman called "the blanched, shaved face of an orthodox citizen." Lige's long hair, a feared symbol to conservatives who worried about too much likening of males and females, fell in sunny blondness over his shoulders. As he walked proudly past straight-identified hard-hats mending Manhattan streets, I noted with satisfaction that many would cruise him, thinking, it appeared, the unthinkable. –Jack Nichols, gay liberation pioneer
Turn of the century lesbians Acting like men and (at left) Dressing like them.
An early 20th century painting advocating the shocking idea that women artists should get to study from live nude models too.
She shocked America by getting a sex-change operation
Brigitte Bardot, on the right, was shocking and disreputable to the American middle-class because she was openly sexual and not in the least demure.
The sexuality of some women Was so shocking that they were Invisible.
Interracial sex was definitely not okay--it’s “tabu.”
“During the 50’s “92% [of Americans] in the north and 99% in the south approved of laws banning marriage Between whites and non-whites. As late as the mid- Sixties, more than half of northern whites and over 3/4 of southern whites still opposed interracial Marriage.” Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound
The attempts in the 50’s to publish Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Ulysses led to legal prosecution and law suits which eventually allowed for greater freedom to publish erotic material.
1.The high value put on emotion 2.The serendipitous, unplannable, nature of experience 3.Openness to experience of whatever sort 4.Living for the moment, for “brief hours”
What got Ulysses into trouble was the ending where Molly Bloom is lying in bed thinking about her husband, her sexual experiences, bodily functions... "...I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes. "
It is out of this passage, it seems to me now - like a down-to-earth goddess out of ocean weather - that Molly Bloom arises. From here on, the woman of fractions comes together: with her plump arms, her wild dreams, her underwear thrown around her bedroom, her dead baby son, her downright sexuality and wilful fantasies, Molly breaks the mould. The milkwoman, who is a sign for the frozen symbolism of national Ireland, reminds Stephen of the lowly form of an immortal. Joyce reverses the sign. He makes Molly the immortal form of lowliness. She is fearless, profane, disrespectful of known authorities. As such, she marks an extraordinary liberation from the rigid diagrams of womanhood Joyce sensed in his own culture. She also signposts his own freedom from the expectations which might be imposed on a national writer... Molly Bloom...is at the centre of Ulysses and she has lived into the future. Not her own future, of course, because her soliloquy in no sense promises that. On the contrary, there is something bleak and heart- stopping at times in her memories and acceptances. But, in the wider sense, she has lived into the future of the country and the city she comes from. Molly Bloom's soliloquy is now part of the consciousness of a country which once could no more have accommodated her than it could have tolerated her restless creator. As the mark of his freedom she is an important figure. As the sign of ours, she is a beloved one. –--Eavan Boland,Bella Mabury and Eloise Mabury Knapp Professor in Humanities at Stanford
“My two-year old can paint better than that.” A commonly- heard reaction to a painting style one didn’t under- stand.
Elvis the Pelvis was not allowed to be shown below the waist when he appeared on Ed Sullivan’s TV show. His “gyrations” were thought to be too sexually suggestive for middle class teenagers to see.
If mom & dad drink, I’ll shock them by doing my own drugs. But time passes, cultures adjust And before you know it...
Suburban mom becomes neighborhood pot dealer? Will she be the world’s most popular soccer mom or what? “Can Mrs. Botwin bring the snacks again, please?” Notice which side The City Council is On now
In 1948 Norman Mailer published the novel that made him famous: The Naked and the Dead. It was a realistic work depicting soldiers in World War II. Mailer wished to show them using the kind of language Tthat soldiers in fact used. He said that he couldn’t possibly have a soldier respond to the violent death of his buddy with “Oh fiddlesticks!” So he used the word “fuck” where soldiers would have used it, but his publishers forced Mailer to use the euphemism "fug" in lieu of "fuck". Mailer's version of a subsequent incident follows: "... The word has been a source of great embarrassment to me over the years because, you know, Talullah Bankhead's press agent, many years ago, got a story in the papers which went..."Oh, hello, you're Norman Mailer," said Talullah Bankhead allegedly, "You're the young man that doesn't know how to spell..." You know, the four-letter word was indicated with all sorts of asterisks... I thought she [Bankhead] should have hired a publicity man who had a better sense of fair play."
Twenty years later, there appeared this notorious group:
In the late 60’s, comedian George Carlin got in some serious trouble with a routine called “Seven Words You Can’t Use on Television.” Pacifica Radio was not allowed to let him use this bit over the air which led to a landmark lawsuit over what was acceptable on the public airwaves. See next slide for a sample:
There are some people who would have you not use certain words. Yeah, there are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven of them that you can't say on television. What a ratio that is. 399,993 to seven. They must really be bad. They'd have to be outrageous, to be separated from a group that large. All of you over here, you seven. Bad words. That's what they told us they were, remember? 'That's a bad word.' 'Awwww.' There are no bad words. Bad thoughts. Bad Intentions. And words, you know the seven don't you? Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits, Those are the heavy seven. Those are the ones that will infect your soul, curve your spine and keep the country from winning the war... There are some two-way words. There are double- meaning words [like] prick. It's okay if it happens to your finger. Yes, you can prick your finger, but don't finger your prick. No, no."
By now, things have loosened a bit: On an episode of South Park called “Raisins,” Comedy Central’s Standards and Practices dept. allowed the use of the word “cunt” (in a way) over the air, because Stan asked Jimmy, who has a speech problem to tell Wendy she is the continuing source of his inspiration. Jimmy: “Hey W-W-Wendy, S-Stan says tha-that You’re a c- a cu- a cunt-a cun” Wendy, “Well, tell Stan to fuck off!” Jimmy: “A continuing s-s-source of in-inspiration Standards and Practices apparently had no problem with the word “fuck.”
Allen Ginsberg & Neil Cassady: Beat Icons
English Teddy Boys from the early 60’s
They scandalized adults with their “long” hair. Seriously.
Four years later But, in a few years...
The female version of the Beatles looked like this.
The female counterculture version
For after having observed thousands of Oxford students, and seeing certain fashion mistakes being made repeatedly, I have come to the conclusion that there is one general course Oxford should require all of its students to take: Fashion Etiquette 101. But, alas, this course is not available to students – not even as an elective. Hence, I have taken it upon myself to draw your attention to certain ‘don'ts' of which you may inadvertently be falling foul via a brief instruction. Our first lesson is a numerical study in the ratio of skin to clothes. Micro-mini skirts, low-cut tops, backless dresses – all of these items can look good, but not if worn simultaneously. Your amazing legs will not be as noticeable in a miniskirt if the rest of your body is naked as well. The trick is to show off just one strategic part of your body. Suggestiveness is much sexier than being completely naked – don't ruin the mystery by baring it all too soon. --advice from a coed in 2005
Well, you walk into the room like a camel and then you frown; You put your eyes in your pocket and your nose on the ground-- There ought to be a law against you comin' around You should be made to wear earphones because something is happening here but you don't know what it is, Do you, Mister Jones? --Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man” 1965
1967: The Human Be-In
To freak out was to lose it, to go temporarily nuts, to have hysterics. Parents were always freaking out over their kids’ hair and dress and music, drug use and sexual behavior. “Freak” was also one of the preferred terms for someone who was part of the Counterculture, a “hippie.” A freak would call himself a freak, but would never refer to himself as a Hippie.
Wedding in New Buffalo
“We’re all born naked, Honey--after that, It’s all drag.” --RuPaul, famous Drag queen "If they hate you in drag, they're probably going to hate you out of drag too - you're the same person both ways, except when you're in a dress you have more attitude,” ---Queen Kaluha Ice, drag queen
Robert Mapplethorpe Broke taboos On photographing The nude male Body as a sexual Object as well As by depicting Interracial gay Couples.
“White gauze” Is it too obvious to see this as a metaphor for the creative soul being smothered by conformity?
In 1989 Andres Serrano caused a huge uproar over this work called “Piss Christ,” which was a photo of a crucifix submerged in a jar of the artist’s urine. Detractors accused Serrano of blasphemy and others defended it on grounds of artistic freedom. On the floor of the United States Senate, Senators Al D'Amato and Jesse Helms expressed outrage that the piece was supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, since it is a federal taxpayer-financed institution. Surprisingly, the art critic and Catholic Nun Sister Wendy Beckett voiced her approval of Piss Christ whose public exhibition offended all conservative, most moderate and even some liberal Catholics.
The most important thing in life is to develop the talents Nature gave you Self-development Being different just to shock is not what Romantics advocate: but one must be willing to shock if that is what it takes to become who you really are, to fully develop one’s talents.
REJECT the TYRANNY of the FUTURE Don’t postpone living now for the sake of some future goal. “Seize the day” “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” Don’t be cautious; live in the moment.
Pleasantville: Bill says to Bud, referring to the fact that the one thing he really enjoys is painting the Christmas scenes on the Malt Shop windows: Why should I have to wait all year long for one moment that I really enjoy? What’s the point of that? Bud: So people can get their hamburgers! The work ethic requires deferred (or possibly no) gratification.
"the emancipation of the present tense, which now informs every new product or advertisement, is a deceptively radical force. It undermines the authority of work, school, church and family, which all demand that we subordinate the present to the future."
Edna St. Vincent Millay: First Fig My candle burns at both ends; It will not last the night; But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends It gives a lovely light...
In 1915, The Dean of Women at the University Of Wisconsin lamented “the tidal wave of irresponsible joyousness” that had apparently swept over the campus. Here is the Puritan Ethic speaking: If one is to have joy, it must be responsible joy.
For me, the principal fact of life is the free mind. For good and evil, man is a free creative spirit. This produces the very queer world we live in, a world in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity. A perpetually new and lively world, but a dangerous one, full of tragedy and injustice. A world in everlasting conflict between the new idea and the old allegiances, new arts and new inventions against the old establishment. »Joyce Cary ( ), British author.
“It is time to get drunk! So as not to be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk; get drunk without stopping! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish.” Charles Baudelaire (1821 ﾐ 1867), Or maybe on sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll
Do not consider present time as clock tme, but rather as a timeless moment when all aremutually engaged in experiencing an experience, the outcome of which is yet unknown. You're right there. You're connected and you don't know what's going to happen and that's where the excitement is and that's where the spontaneity is and that's where the vitality is and that's where the joy is --Viola Spolin, the “mother of Improvisational Theatre”
It is stupid to pile up treasures that we can enjoy only in old age, when we have lost the capacity or enjoyment. Better to seize the moment as it comes, to dwell in it intensely, even at the cost of future suffering. »Malcolm Cowley
Contrast 7: Live for today or live for tomorrow? Romantics: live for today Puritans: live for tomorrow (salvation) Ben Franklin: live for tomorrow (worldly success
Live life to the full "I only regret, in my chilled old age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn’t embrace." --Henry James to Hugh Walpole Be open Be sensual Be unafraid “Seize the day”
Of all the emotions celebrated by the Romantics, the most popular was love. Although the great Romantic works often center on terror or rage, the motive force behind these passions is most often a relationship between a pair of lovers. In the classical world love had been more or less identical with sex, the Romans treating it in a particularly cynical manner. The Medieval troubadours had celebrated courtly adultery according to a highly artificial code that little reflected the lives of real men and women while agreeing with physicians that romantic passion was a potentially fatal disease. It was the romantics who first celebrated romantic love as the natural birthright of every human being, the most exalted of human sentiments, and the necessary foundation of a successful marriage.
The transcendent, irrational, self-destructive passion of a Romeo and Juliet came to be considered the birthright of every European and American citizen; but this conviction which continues to shape much of our thinking about relationships, marriage, and the family found its mature form during the Romantic age. So thoroughly has love become identified with romance that the two are now generally taken as synonyms, disregarding the earlier associations of "romance" with adventure, terror, and mysticism.
It is stupid to pile up treasures that we can enjoy only in old age, when we have lost the capacity or enjoyment. Better to seize the moment as it comes, to dwell in it intensely, even at the cost of future suffering. »Malcolm Cowley
Although artistic revolt, radical politics and the need to escape from Philistine America accurately characterized the Village leadership, the prime element attracting many to the Village was more mundane...the Village offered a new sexual freedom to those who lived there. Just as in the youth revolt of the 1960’s, sexual experimentation was as vital a component of intellectual and
social release as was a new political consciousness... Much of polite scholarship has also obscured the Fact that it was the woman feminist residents of the village who pioneered and led this sexual rebellion....we should remember that it took more courage, in the teens [and for a woman], to advocate free love than it took to preach social revolution. Mary Heaton Vorse
Contrast 8: live life to the full or not? Romantics: Live life to the full Puritans: Repress your nature, for much of it is evil Freud: Some repression of sexual instincts is necessary for people to live in society. A society in which everyone sought pleasure at all times would be impossible. This means that civilized people can never be truly happy.
REJECT the WORK ETHIC Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, encouraging his followers not to worry about their worldly needs: “Why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
art has to leave reality, it has to raise itself bodily above necessity and neediness; for art is the daughter of freedom, and it requires its prescriptions and rules to be furnished by the necessity of spirits and not by that of matter. But in our day it is necessity, neediness, that prevails, and bends a degraded humanity under its iron yoke. Utility is the great idol of the time, to which all powers do homage and all subjects are subservient. In this great balance of utility, the spiritual service of art has no weight, and, deprived of all encouragement, it vanishes from the noisy Vanity Fair of our time.
In data collected [by Alfred Kinsey in the 50’s] we find that both men and women widely believed that “providing sexual pleasure for one’s spouse Is a central requirement for a happy marriage. According to marriage manuals, sexual technique Was an important thing to acquire, something Akin to a sex as work ethic.” Nothing could be farther from Romanticism than to make a duty out of sex. --Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound, p. 117
"I never wrote for money...," she says. "I've always written for the joy of it... Diane di Prima
art was still looked upon by mother and father, aunt and uncle, the grocer-the Common Man- as a way of escaping the reasonableness of working for a living. What stuck in the Common Craw was the passion of art, its thrills and leaps of the imagination. Larry Rivers, avant-garde painter and musician
Thoreau claimed that there was no time when he was at Walden Pond. His days at Walden are such that he can sit rapt in a revery, amidst the pines... in undisturbed solitude and stillness... his time there is not segmented into hours and fretted by the ticking of a clock. he said that he grew like corn by sitting on his doorstep from dawn to noon, too busy to engage in work of head or hand
And this natural unclocked time is not "idleness" in the sense that the men of the village, the Ben Franklins would understand it, and condemn it for being so. It is rather the best possible use of time. It's one's own time, unsold to anyone else, undevoted to the chores of the world, it's a sacred chunk of one's life, which is nothing but time, so one better be careful how one spends it. –Thoreau, walden
[Matisse} simply refused to get a job, or to be anything but a painter. The once or twice he considered it, when things were truly desperate, his wife Dissuaded him:she believed he was a painter too. He never got a day job, he never did what “practical” people would do, paint in his spare time.
Contrast 9 Make sure your kids have plenty of enriching things to do during the summer: violin lessons, camp, summer school. Fill up their time so they don’t waste it. If you don’t, they’ll fall behind in the race to get to Harvard. Let your kids loaf and lie under trees during the summer. Let them be children.
REJECT ELITISM be a democrat. 1. We all have a Natural genius, we are all worthwhile. No one exists simply to serve someone else. 2. One’s worth is inborn: it is not measured by one’s social status or wealth or race or gender. 3. Insist that your life matters and is not to be lightly thrown away or wasted.
Do you know so much that you call the meanest ignorant? Do you suppose you have a right to a good sight, and he or she has no right to a sight? Do you think matter has cohered together From its diffuse float, and the soils on the Surface, and water runs, and vegetation sprouts For you only and not for him and her? -- Whitman, “I Sing the Body Electric”
"Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking, and breeding No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them”
one aspect of Romanticism: the belief that products of the uncultivated popular imagination could equal or even surpass those of the educated court poets and composers who had previously monopolized the attentions of scholars and connoisseurs. Whereas during much of the 17th and 18th centuries learned allusions, complexity and grandiosity were prized, the new romantic taste favored simplicity and naturalness; and these were thought to flow most clearly and abundantly from the "spontaneous" outpourings of the untutored common people.
Contrast 10 Romantics: we are all equally unique and valuable individuals. Puritans: some of us are the Elect and will go to Heaven; some are not. Franklin: some of us can be successful; some are lazy and can’t Rand: some few individuals are Geniuses Racists: white people are superior to people of color Sexists: men are superior to women “Patriots”: people of my country are superior to people of your country.