2National Optimism Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Louisiana Purchase and Gold RushAgricultural advancementIndustrial advancementFrontierTechnological advancements
3Problems Facing the Nation SECTIONALISMNorth vs. SouthEconomic security/superioritySlavery expansionPolitical leadership
4Beginnings of American Literature Was American lit. to be “strikingly American”?Narrower viewResulted in hokey work that tried to encompass American in its entirety, praising its past and supposed future greatness
5Or…Was American writing to be universal and comparable to the great works of Europe?Broader view that wound up prevailingAided by the achievement of Romantic writers
6Puritanism Simple, Sparce, Straightforward. Purpose for Literature: ~Purpose for Literature:provide spiritual insight and instructionMostly sermons, theological studies, and hymnsCoexisting in our earliest writings are Puritans and Neoclassicists/Deist.Puritan StyleSimple, Sparce, Straightforward.
71750-1800 Rationalism The Founding Fathers: Neoclassicists Emphasized reason,harmony,and restraintAlso some embraced DeismAnd in other colonies…Not all Neoclassicists were Deists, but nearly all Deist were wrote in the Neoclassic style.Classicism typically refere to what are considered characteristics of classical life that include simplicity, harmony, proportional representation and emotional restraint.The Enlightenment was a movement of intellectuals who were greatly impressed with the accomplishments of the Scientific Revolution, and when they used the word reason they were advocating the application of the scientific method to the understanding of all life. It is generally considered to be part of the Age of Reason.Deist believed in God, but not a Trinity, an inspired Bible, or a relational God.
8American Romanticism Roots in Europe In the U.S., it ran fromOf all the literary and philosophical movements, this one has probably most affected the perception of people’s relationships to others and to God.
9Romance: Less formal version of epic Noble character on a series of adventuresPastoral (wilderness) settingLove interest and the idealization of women
10Characteristics of American Literary Romanticism 1. INDIVIDUALISMPopularized by the frontier traditionJacksonian democracyAbolitionism
11Rejection of the Puritan belief in total depravity: People were naturally benevolentMind was a tabula rosa at birthindividuals are born without built-in mental contentand that their knowledge comes from experienceand perception ("blank slate“)Corrupted by institutions thatsought to dehumanize individualsPeople worth highlighting are thoseclosest to Nature“Noble savage”Truth can best be found in Nature…unadulterated, uncorrupted by man…the purest form of man was themost Native.
122. IMAGINATIONReaction against the earlier age’s emphasis on Reason
133. EMOTIONFeeling is now considered superior to rationality or intellect, as the mode of perceiving and experiencing realityIntuition leads one to truthTruth/reality are now highly subjective
144. NATURE The means of knowing Truth God reveals himself solely through NatureNature becomes a moral teacherEden-like and untouched by Adam’s fallA retreat for menU.S. literature full of lavish descriptions of NatureU.S. literature different in the sense of wild Nature vs. Europe’s cultivated Nature
155. DISTANT SETTINGS Both in terms of time and place Used to comment on attitudes of the time period
16Transcendentalists Part of the American Romantic Movement Part of the American Romantic MovementBelieved that:Truth could not be perceived with the five sensesHuman soul is part of the Oversoul or universal spirit, which it returns to at a person’s deathHeld nature in as an object of worshipTranscendentalism was the name of a group of new ideas in literature, religion, culture and philosophy that advocates that there is an ideal spiritual state that 'transcends' the physical and empirical and is only realized through a knowledgeable intuitive awareness that is conditional upon the individual. The concept emerged in New England in the early-to mid-nineteenth century. ...A broad, philosophical movement in New England during the Romantic era (peaking between 1835 and 1845). It stressed the role of divinity in nature and the individual s intuition, and exalted feeling over reason.Transcendentalism was an American literary and philosophical movement of the nineteenth century. The Transcendentalists, who were based in New England, believed that intuition and the individual conscience “transcend” experience and thus are better guides to truth than are the senses and logical reason. ...Includes the Dark Transcendentalism or Anti-Transcendentalist—Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville
17Anti-Transcendentalism Hawthorne and MelvilleEvil AboundsNot Optimistic
18GOTHIC ROMANTICISM EDGAR ALLAN POE (1809-1849) In his short stories and poetry applied universal standards of literary criticism. Developed the American short story; brevity concept.
20THE KNICKERBOCKERS 1.WASHINGTON IRVING ( )Not so much fiction as “sketches”Distinctly American settings and charactersThe History of New YorkNarrator: Diedrich Knickerbocker“Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
212. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER (1789-1851) First successful American authorGrew up in Cooperstown, NYWrote 32 novels, including The Last of the Mohicans and The Leatherstocking Tales
22NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL (Fireside Poets) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Oliver Wendell HolmesJohn Greenleaf WhittierJames Russell Lowell5. William Cullen Bryant
23America’s First Literary Stars The Fireside PoetsAmerica’s First Literary Stars
24We watched the first red blaze appear, Heard the sharp crackle, caught the gleam On whitewashed wall and sagging beam, Until the old, rude-furnished room Burst, flower-like, into rosy bloom; While radiant with a mimic flame Outside the sparkling drift became, And through the bare-boughed lilac-tree Our own warm hearth seemed blazing free.from Snow-bound, John Greenleaf Whittier
25What are the Fireside Poets? First group of American poets to rival British poets in popularity in either country.Notable for their scholarship and the resilience of their lines and themes.Preferred conventional forms over experimentation. Attention to rhyme and strict metrical cadences made their work popular for memorization and recitation.Often used American legends and scenes of American life as their subject matter.
26Who were the Fireside Poets? Henry Wadsworth LongfellowWilliam Cullen BryantJames Russell LowellOliver Wendell HolmesJohn Greenleaf Whittier
27Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Composed “Song of Hiawatha”“Paul Revere’s Ride”(ballad – narrative poem)“Psalm of Life”“The Day Is Done”“The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls”“The Cross of Snow”(sonnet – 14 line poem – Italian sonnet: octave + sestet)Translated Dante’s Inferno from Italian into English
28William Cullen Bryant 1794-1878 Composed “To a Waterfowl” and “Thanatopsis”One of the founders of the Republican party and supporter of Lincoln
29James Russell Lowell 1819-1891 Composed “The First Snowfall” and “The Present Crisis” and “Under the Old Elm”Active in anti-slavery causesSatirist and criticLyric poet, best remembered for his nature poems
30Oliver Wendell Holmes 1809-1894 Son of a Calvinist minister Medical doctor – invented the term “anesthesia.”one of the founding editors of the journal Atlantic Monthly in 1857Composed “Old Ironsides,” which saved the U.S.S. Constitution from the scrap yardFather of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
31John Greenleaf Whittier Son of QuakersLittle formal schoolingComposed Snow-bound ,“Maude Muller” and“Barefoot Boy”Devoted to social causesActive in anti-slavery movementhelped to found Atlantic Monthly in 1857The Civil War inspired the famous poem "Barbara Frietchie"
32Lasting Impact of Fireside Poets Longfellow remained the most popular American poet for decades. When Poe criticized him, he was all but ostracized. Longfellow remains the only American poet to be immortalized by a bust in Westminster Abbey’s Poets’ CornerThey took on causes in their poetry, such as the abolition of slavery, which brought the issues to the forefront in a palatable way.Through their scholarship and editorial efforts, they paved the way for later Romantic writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman.
33TRANSCENDENTAL OPTIMISTS RALPH WALDO EMERSONFamous for poetry, Nature, and“Self-Reliance”Spokesman for transcendentalismvery optimistic about humans’ benevolent natureSpent much of his life in Concord, MassLectured and made the rounds as aproponent of transcendentalism(lyceum)
34TRANSCENDENTAL OPTIMISTS HENRY DAVID THOREAUProbably best known for Civil Disobedience and WaldenPracticed his own preachingInfluenced future leaders
35WaldenI went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear, nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life . . ."