1750-1800: Rationalism/ Age of Reason 1800-1860: Romanticism 1860-1900: Realism
1803 Louisiana Purchase 1812-15 War of 1812, “Star-Spangled Banner” written 1820-21 Missouri Compromise 1830 Underground Railroad is organized 1838 Trail of Tears 1846 Potato famine in Ireland 1846-48 U.S. annexes Texas; war with Mexico 1848 First women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls 1849 California gold rush
A reaction against Rationalism Valued FEELING and INTUITION over reason Imagination can discover truths that the mind cannot reach Value imagination, individual feelings, and wild nature over reason, logic and sophistication Reflection on natural world led to emotional and intellectual awakening
5 Is of Romanticism Intuition Imagination Innocence Inspiration from nature Individualism Other characteristics: Favored remote/exotic settings (the past, the countryside) City perceived as a place of corruption Emphasis on the natural and the supernatural worlds Divinity found in nature
Fireside Poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau Dark Romantics Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe Other poets Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson
Poetry was valued as the greatest embodiment of the imagination. Fireside Poets used traditional forms but introduced uniquely American subject matter. Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson later broke free from traditional forms of poetry. Transcendentalism Everything is a reflection of the Divine Soul Nature is a doorway to the spiritual world Man should be true to himself rather than blindly submitting to external authority Optimistic view of human nature Dark Romanticism Similar to Transcendentalism; the major difference is that Dark Romantics were pessimistic in their view of humanity
Transcendentalism is an American literary, political, and philosophical movement of the early nineteenth century, centered around Ralph Waldo Emerson. Stimulated by English and German Romanticism They were critics of their contemporary society for its unthinking conformity, and urged that each individual find, in Emerson's words, “an original relation to the universe” (O, 3). Emerson and Thoreau sought this relation in solitude amidst nature, and in their writing.
The “American Renaissance” refers to an explosion in the production of American literature. Literature produced during the American Renaissance falls under the larger umbrella of American Romanticism. The movement includes works by the Transcendentalists, Dark Romantics, and poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.