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 Do Now: Top 5 list of things you learned in 2014. (In general – not necessarily in this class or even in school )

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Presentation on theme: " Do Now: Top 5 list of things you learned in 2014. (In general – not necessarily in this class or even in school )"— Presentation transcript:

1  Do Now: Top 5 list of things you learned in 2014. (In general – not necessarily in this class or even in school )

2  Do Now: In no less than 3 sentences, describe what you think are the characteristics/themes/ subject matter of American Romanticism.

3 1800 -1860

4  For Rationalists – the city was a place of civilization and opportunity  For Romantics – the city was a place of immorality and death.  For these reasons, the Romantic Journey often leads into the countryside.  A place of independence, morality, and healthful living

5  Sometimes, the journey might be into the mind.  The works of Edgar Allen Poe show journeys into the imagination.  The Romantic journey is both a flight from something and a flight to something.

6  Romantics valued feeling over reason.  Romanticism – originally a European movement – began in late 1700s  Spread throughout Europe into the 1800s.  Came to America slightly later and took somewhat different forms

7  First grew in response to rationalism.  Rationalism had focused on reason and science. ▪ Sparked the Industrial Revolution ▪ With Industrial Revolution came filthy cities and terrible working conditions.  Romantics distrusted pure reason and instead turned to the imagination.  Claimed that the imagination could see and understand truths that the rational mind could not.

8  Romantics valued imagination, feeling, and nature over reason, logic, and civilization.  Romantics valued poetry above all other works of the imagination.  They contrasted poetry with science, which they viewed as a destroyer of truth.  Edgar Allen Poe once called science a “ vulture ” with wings of “ dull realities ” that preyed upon the hearts of poets.

9  Romantics – explored exotic settings  In the more natural past or in locations far from civilization and industry.  Romantics – explored supernatural worlds  Explored legends and folktales

10  Tried to reflect on the natural world in order to see truth and beauty.  This approach is found in many lyric poems ▪ In these poems, the speaker discovers in ordinary scenes or objects (flower by a stream, bird flying overhead) some important deeply felt understanding about life. ▪ Like the Puritans, Romantics found truth in nature ▪ But rather than finding moral lessons, Romantics found a more general feeling of mental and emotional health.

11  Values feeling over reason  Places faith in the imagination  Shuns civilization and seeks nature  Prefers innocence to sophistication  Fights for individual ’ s freedom and worth  Trusts past wisdom, not progress  Reflects on nature to gain spiritual wisdom  Finds beauty and truth in supernatural or imaginative realms.  Sees poetry at the highest work of the imagination  Is inspired by myth, legend, and folklore.

12  Some American writers imitated English and European models of writing.  Others believed that America should develop a literary style of its own.  The great American frontier provided a sense of unlimited possibilities that was not available in Europe.  The first truly American novels looked westward.

13  Wrote about unique American settings and characters.  Frontier communities  American Indians  Backwoodsmen  Created the first American hero: Natty Bumppo ▪ This character ’ s simple morality, love of nature, and almost superhuman inventiveness make him a true Romantic hero.

14  The typical Romantic hero is youthful and innocent.  He relies on common sense rather than book learning and is close to nature.  Because women represented marriage and civilization (to many writers), Romantic heroes are often uncomfortable around them.

15  In contrast to Romantic heroes, Ben Franklin represents the rationalist hero.  He looks to the city to better himself.  Today Americans still create Romantic heroes in the form of Superman, Luke Skywalker, and Indiana Jones, along with dozens of other western, detective, and fantasy heroes.

16  Is youthful and innocent  Has a strong sense of honor  Has knowledge that comes from experience  Loves nature and avoids town life  Seeks truth in the natural world.

17  Goals of American Romantic poets were different from those of Romantic novelists.  Novelists looked for new subject matter  Poets wanted to prove that Americans were not ignorant hicks. ▪ To do this, they wrote poems is a style much like the poems of England.

18  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell were known as the Fireside Poets.  Poems often read aloud by the fireside  In their time period and for a long time after, they were the most popular poets America ever produced.

19  Because they preferred the old, established styles of poetry, the fireside poets were unable to recognize the American poetry of the future.  In 1855, Whittier read the work of a young poet, Walt Whitman, and promptly threw it into the fire.  After reading the same poetry, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the young poet a letter.  “ I greet you, ” Emerson wrote to Whitman, “ at the beginning of a great career.

20  Emerson led a group know at the Transcendentalists.  These people believed that to find the truth about God, the universe, and one ’ s self, one must transcend, or go beyond, the everyday experiences of the physical world.  Transcendentalism was not new ▪ It originated in the ancient Greek philosophy of idealism.

21  Idealists said that true reality was found in ideas, not in the imperfect physical world.  They sought the pure reality – the “ ideal ” that was beneath physical appearances.  American Transcendentalists were idealists in a more practical sense.  They believed that humanity could be perfected, and they worked to make this idea a reality.

22  Through his books and lectures, Emerson became the best-known member of the Transcendentalists.  His transcendentalism added ideas from Europe and Asia to a distinctly American base.  Emerson drew much of his thought from Puritanism.  God revealed himself through the Bible and the physical world.  This mystical view of the world was passed on to American Romantics and to Emerson.

23  He wrote, “ Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. ”  His view of the world came from his intuition, not from logic.  Intuition is our ability to know things through feeling rather reason.  In contrast, Franklin saw nature as something to be examined scientifically.

24  Positive thinking (optimism) guided Emerson.  Strongly believed that God is good and works through nature.  If we trust in our own power to know God directly, we will see that we, too, are a part of the Divine Soul.  Emerson ’ s optimism appealed to many people who lived in a time full of worries – about money, slavery, and future of our nation.  Emerson gave them a comforting message. If the world depresses you, look within yourself.  The God within will connect you to the peace and beauty of the universe.

25  Everything, including people, is a reflection of the divine.  The physical world is a doorway to the spiritual world.  People can use intuition to sense God in nature or in their own souls.  A person is his or her own best authority.  Feeling and intuition are superior to reason and intellect.

26  Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Edgar Allen Poe are known as the Dark Romantics.  Because of their gloomy view of the world, some people see these writers as anti-Transcendentalists.  Dark Romantics had much in common with Emerson and his followers.  Both groups valued feeling over reason.  Both groups saw the events of the world as a signs or symbols that pointed beyond.

27  Did not agree with the optimism of the Transcendentalists.  Thought that Emerson took only the bright side of Puritanism and ignored the belief in the wickedness of humanity.  To create a greater balance, the Dark Romantics explored both good and evil.  Looked at the effects of guilt and sin on the mind, body and soul, including madness.  Behind the pasteboard masks of polite society, they saw the horror of evil.  From this vision, the Dark Romantics shaped a new, truly American literature.


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