Elements of Romanticism Frontier: vast expanse, freedom, no geographic limitations. Experimentation: in science, in institutions. Mingling of races: immigrants in large numbers arrive to the US. Growth of industrialization: polarization of north and south; north becomes industrialized, south remains agricultural.
Romantic Subject Matter The quest for beauty: non-didactic, "pure beauty The use of the far-away and non-normal - antique and fanciful Interest in external nature - for itself, for beauty: a. Nature as source for the knowledge of the primitive. b. Nature as refuge. c. Nature as revelation of God to the individual.
Early Romantics Washington Irving “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” “Rip Van Winkle” James Fenimore Cooper Leatherstocking Tales
Fireside Poets William Cullen Bryant Henry Wadsworth Longfellow James Russell Lowell Oliver Wendell Holmes
The American Renaissance 1830’s-1855 Not technically a “rebirth” of American culture, but considered the high point of the 19th century. Also called the “Flowering of New England.” An Attempt to create a New American Literature not based on European Models.
Who reads an American Book? In the four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book? or goes to an American play? or looks at an American picture or statue? ….Finally, under which of the old tyrannical governments of Europe is every sixth man a slave, whom his fellow creatures may buy and sell and torture? --Sidney Smith
Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau 1. Celebration of nature 2. Faith in the Goodness of man 3. Social Reformers
Dark Romantics Edgar Allen Poe Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville 1. Concentrates on the Dark Side of man’s nature 2. Fascination with the destructive power of nature 3. Suspicious of perfectability of people and democracy.
Major Works 1850 Ralph Waldo Emerson Representative Men 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter 1851 Herman Melville Moby-Dick 1852 Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin 1854 Henry David Thoreau Walden 1855 Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass 1853 Frederick Douglass Heroic Slave