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American Romanticism p

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1 American Romanticism p. 215-6
English III American Romanticism p

2 I. Characteristics of American Romanticism
Affirmation of feeling and intuition over reason Faith in imagination, inner experience, and youthful innocence, rather than educated sophistication Belief in the unspoiled natural world, as opposed to the artificiality of civilization Regard for individual freedom and the worth of the individual

3 II. A Reaction Against Rationalism
Americans begin to form their own cultural identity Romantics helped build this identity Romanticism – the schools of thought that value feeling and intuition over reason Romanticism developed as a reaction against rationalism Industrial Revolution Squalid cities Miserable working conditions Limits of reason

4 E. Imagination able to discover truths that rationalism could not 1
E. Imagination able to discover truths that rationalism could not 1. these truths were accompanied by powerful emotion and associated with natural beauty 2. imagination, individual feelings, and wild nature valued above reason, logic, and sophistication

5 III. Romantic Escapism Desire to rise above “dull realities” of life to find a realm of higher truth Situations and settings from “natural” past rather than the grimy and noisy industrial age Supernatural elements Old legends folklore

6 C. Reflect on natural world until dull reality fell away to reveal beauty and truth D. Contemplation of nature leads to emotional and intellectual awakening

7 IV. The American Novel and the Wilderness Experience
America provides a sense of limitless frontiers Novel develops along with westward expansion, growth of nationalist spirit, and idealization of frontier life Unique characters and settings James Fennimore Cooper Natty Bumppo – true Romantic hero Simple morality Love of nature Distrust of town life Superhuman resourcefulness

8 V. American Romantic Poetry: Read at Every Fireside
American poets wanted to show that Americans were a sophisticated people Worked within European literary traditions Used styles familiar to those who had recently immigrated to America

9 D. Fireside Poets 1. Boston poets a. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow b
D. Fireside Poets 1. Boston poets a. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow b. John Greenleaf Whittier c. William Cullen Bryant d. Oliver Wendell Holmes e. James Russell Lowell E. Named because their poetry was read aloud at the fireside as family entertainment

10 F. The Fireside Poets were limited by their literary conservatism and did not recognize the poetry of the future.

11 1. How does Romanticism differ from rationalism?
Answer: Romanticism differs from rationalism because Romanticists believed that there was knowledge and truth that could not be accessed or understood by the mind.

12 2. In what two principal ways did Romantics try to rise above “dull realities”?
Answer: The first way was to focus their attention on pre-industrial or nonindustrial people and societies. The second way was to focus on nature so that they could shake off the dulling effects of everyday life.

13 3. How were the goals of the American Romantic novelists different from the goals of the Fireside Poets? Answer: The novelists wanted to celebrate American uniqueness, while the Fireside Poets wanted to prove that Americans could life up to European standards.

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