Presentation on theme: "Imagination and the Individual"— Presentation transcript:
1 1800-1860 Imagination and the Individual American RomanticismImagination and the Individual
2 Characteristics of American Romanticism Values feeling and intuition over reasonPlaces faith in inner experience and power of imaginationShuns artificiality of civilizationSeeks unspoiled naturePrefers youthful innocence to educated sophistication
3 Cropsey: Autumn on the Hudson River Romanticism exalted individualism, subjectivism, irrationalism, imagination, emotions and nature
4 More CharacteristicsChampions individual freedom and worth of individualNature’s beauty as path to spiritual and moral developmentDistrusts progressFinds beauty and truth in exotic locales, the supernatural realm and the imaginationPoetry as highest expression of imagination
5 Emigrants Crossing the Plains –Albert Bierstadt In your notebooks, briefly discuss how this painting illustrates the Romantic view of nature.
6 Conditions that influenced American Romanticism: Frontier promised opportunity for expansion, growth, freedomSpirit of optimism invoked by the promise of an uncharted frontier.Immigration = new cultures and perspectivesIndustry in the north further polarized the north and the agrarian south.Search for new spiritual roots.
8 Literary Themes Highly imaginative and subjective Emotional intensity EscapismCommon man as heroNature as refuge, source of knowledge and/or spirituality
9 The American Romantic Hero Young or youthful qualitiesSense of honor based not on society’s rules but some higher principleKnowledge based on deep, intuitive understanding, not on formal learningLoves nature and avoids town lifeQuests fro some higher truth in the natural world**by modern standards uneasy with women and the “domestic” force
10 Fireside Poets First American poets to be really popular Literary conservatismFocused on American landscapes but used European stylesHenry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.,
11 From Thanatopsis -William Cullen Bryant To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language; for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And gentle sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts Of the last bitter hour come like a blight Over thy spirit, and sad images Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart;-- Go forth under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all around-- Earth and her waters, and the depths of air,-- Comes a still voice---In your notebook, respond to the following questions:How does this poem illustrate the themes of American Romanticism?At the start of this poem, nature is personified. How does Nature speak to us in our “gayer hours” and our “darker musings”?
12 Transcendentalists: True Reality is Spiritual Led by Ralph Waldo EmersonEverything, including humans is a reflection of the Divine SoulPhysical facts of the natural world are a doorway to spiritual or “ideal” world