Presentation on theme: "AMERICAN ROMANTICISM 1800 - 1860 I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could."— Presentation transcript:
AMERICAN ROMANTICISM 1800 - 1860 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. - Henry David Thoreau
Political and Social Milestones The Louisiana Purchase - 1803 The Gold Rush - 1849 Education and Reform
Rationalism vs Romanticism The rationalists believed the city to be a place to find success and self-realization The romantics associated the countryside with independence, moral clarity, and healthful living.
Characteristics of American Romanticism Values feeling and intuition over reason Places faith in inner experience and the power of the imagination Shuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled nature Prefers youthful innocence to educated sophistication Champions individual freedom and the worth of the individual Contemplates nature’s beauty as a path to spiritual and moral development
Characteristics (continued) Looks backward to the wisdom of the past and distrusts progress Finds beauty and truth in exotic locals, the supernatural realm, and the inner world of the imagination Sees poetry as the highest expression of the imagination Finds inspiration in myth, legend, and folk culture
TheEuropean Insult European writers felt America was too new and uncultured to produce good literature. American poets responded by proving they could write European-style, traditional poems. American prose writers (short stories, novels) responded by embracing American culture and establishing a distinctly American literature.
The Fireside Poets Worked within European literary traditions Used English themes, meter, imagery with American settings and subjects Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendel Holmes, James Russell Lowell
The New American Novel James Fenimore Cooper Natty Bumpo - new kind of hero Triumph of American innocence Popular twenty and twenty-first century Romantic heroes
New American Novelists Herman Melville - (ex-sailor) wrote Moby Dick Nathaniel Hawthorne - wrote The Scarlet Letter
American Renaissance 1840-1860 Not really a “rebirth” but a “coming of age”
Transcendentalism The idea that in determining the ultimate reality of God, the universe, the self, and other important matters, one must transcend, or go beyond, everyday human experience in the physical world. Ralph Waldo Emerson influenced by ancient Greek - Plato Also based on Puritan belief and Romantics Based on intuition; optimistic Henry David Thoreau Emerson’s close friend
Dark Romantics Believed in a world beyond the physical world but weren’t convinced it was necessarily good Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville known as Dark Romantics Explored conflicts between good and evil, psychological effects of guilt and sin, and madness
Whitman and Dickinson 19th century’s greatest poets Spoke to the masses Universal brotherhood, democracy Aimed for overall impression, free verse based on cadence Saw understanding of the self as the key to the universe Obscure homebody In nature, found metaphors for the spirit Meticulous word choice, precise language, evoking feelings All but a few poems published posthumously