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American Romanticism 1820-1865. National Optimism Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Louisiana.

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Presentation on theme: "American Romanticism 1820-1865. National Optimism Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Louisiana."— Presentation transcript:

1 American Romanticism

2 National Optimism Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Rapid expansion of US acreage and population Louisiana Purchase and Gold Rush Louisiana Purchase and Gold Rush Agricultural advancement Agricultural advancement Industrial advancement Industrial advancement Frontier Frontier Technological advancements Technological advancements

3 Problems Facing the Nation SECTIONALISM SECTIONALISM North vs. South North vs. South Economic security/superiority Economic security/superiority Slavery expansion Slavery expansion Political leadership Political leadership

4 Was American lit. to be strikingly American? Was American lit. to be strikingly American? Narrower view Narrower view Resulted in hokey work that tried to encompass American in its entirety, praising its past and supposed future greatness Resulted in hokey work that tried to encompass American in its entirety, praising its past and supposed future greatness Beginnings of American Literature

5 Was American writing to be universal and comparable to the great works of Europe? Was American writing to be universal and comparable to the great works of Europe? Broader view that wound up prevailing Broader view that wound up prevailing Aided by the achievement of Romantic writers Aided by the achievement of Romantic writers Or…

6 Puritan Style Simple, Sparce, Straightforward. Purpose for Literature : provide spiritual insight and instruction –Mostly sermons, theological studies, and hymns Puritanism ~

7 Emphasized reason, harmony, and restraint Also some embraced Deism The Founding Fathers: Neoclassicists Rationalism

8 American Romanticism Roots in Europe Roots in Europe In the U.S., it ran from In the U.S., it ran from Of all the literary and philosophical movements, this one has probably most affected the perception of peoples relationships to others and to God. Of all the literary and philosophical movements, this one has probably most affected the perception of peoples relationships to others and to God.

9 Romance: Less formal version of epic Romance: Less formal version of epic Noble character on a series of adventures Noble character on a series of adventures Pastoral (wilderness) setting Pastoral (wilderness) setting Love interest and the idealization of women Love interest and the idealization of women

10 Characteristics of American Literary Romanticism 1. INDIVIDUALISM Popularized by the frontier tradition Popularized by the frontier tradition Jacksonian democracy Jacksonian democracy Abolitionism Abolitionism

11 Rejection of the Puritan belief in total depravity: People were naturally benevolent People were naturally benevolent Mind was a tabula rosa at birth Mind was a tabula rosa at birth individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception ("blank slate) Corrupted by institutions that Corrupted by institutions that sought to dehumanize individuals sought to dehumanize individuals People worth highlighting are those People worth highlighting are those closest to Nature closest to Nature Noble savage Noble savage Truth can best be found in Nature… Truth can best be found in Nature… unadulterated, uncorrupted by man unadulterated, uncorrupted by man …the purest form of man was the …the purest form of man was the most Native. most Native.

12 2. IMAGINATION Reaction against the earlier ages emphasis on Reason Reaction against the earlier ages emphasis on Reason

13 3. EMOTION Feeling is now considered superior to rationality or intellect, as the mode of perceiving and experiencing reality Intuition leads one to truth Truth/reality are now highly subjective

14 4. NATURE The means of knowing Truth God reveals himself solely through Nature Nature becomes a moral teacher Eden-like and untouched by Adams fall A A retreat for men U U.S. literature full of lavish descriptions of Nature.S. literature different in the sense of wild Nature vs. Europes cultivated Nature

15 5. DISTANT SETTINGS Both in terms of time and place Both in terms of time and place Used to comment on attitudes of the time period Used to comment on attitudes of the time period

16 Part of the American Romantic Movement Believed that: Truth could not be perceived with the five senses Human soul is part of the Oversoul or universal spirit, which it returns to at a persons death Held nature in as an object of worship

17 Anti - Transcendentalism Hawthorne and Melville Evil Abounds Not Optimistic

18 EDGAR ALLAN POE ( ) In his short stories and poetry applied universal standards of literary criticism. Developed the American short story; brevity concept. GOTHIC ROMANTICISM GOTHIC ROMANTICISM

19 American Authors

20 1.WASHINGTON IRVING ( ) Not so much fiction as sketches Not so much fiction as sketches Distinctly American settings and characters Distinctly American settings and characters The History of New York The History of New York Narrator: Diedrich Knickerbocker Narrator: Diedrich Knickerbocker Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow THE KNICKERBOCKERS

21 2. JAMES FENIMORE COOPER ( ) First successful American author Grew up in Cooperstown, NY Wrote 32 novels, including The Last of the Mohicans and The Leatherstocking Tales

22 NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL (Fireside Poets) 1.Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 2.Oliver Wendell Holmes 3.John Greenleaf Whittier 4.James Russell Lowell 5. William Cullen Bryant

23 The Fireside Poets Americas First Literary Stars

24 We 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

25 What 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.

26 Who were the Fireside Poets? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow William Cullen Bryant James Russell Lowell Oliver Wendell Holmes John Greenleaf Whittier

27 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Composed Song of Hiawatha Paul Reveres 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 Dantes Inferno from Italian into English

28 William Cullen Bryant Composed To a Waterfowl and Thanatopsis One of the founders of the Republican party and supporter of Lincoln

29 James Russell Lowell Composed The First Snowfall and The Present Crisis and Under the Old Elm Active in anti-slavery causes Satirist and critic Lyric poet, best remembered for his nature poems

30 Oliver Wendell Holmes Son of a Calvinist minister Medical doctor – invented the term anesthesia. one of the founding editors of the journal Atlantic Monthly in 1857 Composed Old Ironsides, which saved the U.S.S. Constitution from the scrap yard Father of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

31 John Greenleaf Whittier Son of Quakers Little formal schooling Composed Snow-bound, Maude Muller and Barefoot Boy Devoted to social causes Active in anti-slavery movement helped to found Atlantic Monthly in 1857 The Civil War inspired the famous poem "Barbara Frietchie"

32 Lasting 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 Abbeys Poets Corner They 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.

33 TRANSCENDENTAL OPTIMISTS RALPH WALDO EMERSON Famous for poetry, Nature, and Self-Reliance Spokesman for transcendentalism v very optimistic about humans benevolent nature Spent much of his life in Concord, Mass Lectured and made the rounds as a proponent of transcendentalism (lyceum)

34 TRANSCENDENTAL OPTIMISTS HENRY DAVID THOREAU Probably best known for Civil Disobedience and Walden Practiced his own preaching Influenced future leaders

35 Walden Walden I 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..." I 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..."


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