2 Background vocabulary Rationalism – the belief that human beings can arrive at truth by using reason, rather than by relying on the authority of the past, on religious faith, or on intuitionRomanticism – a revolt against rationalism that affected literature and the other arts, beginning in the late 18th Century and remaining strong throughout most of the 19th Century.
3 Background vocabulary Transcendentalism – a 19th Century movement in the Romantic tradition, which held that every individual can reach ultimate truths through spiritual intuition, which transcends reason and sensory experience.Dark Romantics – a group of 19th Century writers who explored the dark side of human nature
4 Background notes The Rationalist worldview: People arrive at truth by using reason rather than by relying on the authority of the past, on religion, or on non-rational mental processes, such as intuition.God created the universe but does not interfere in its workings.The world operates according to God’s rules, and through the use of reason, people can discover those rules.
5 Background notes, continued People are basically good and perfectible.Since God wants people to be happy, they worship God best by helping other people.Human history is marked by progress toward a more perfect existence.
6 Introduction The theme of journey as a declaration of independence William Cullen Bryant, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Greenleaf Whittier, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and John Russell Lowell are Romantic poets (Fireside Poets)
7 Introduction Washington Irving - Father of American Literature James Fenimore Cooper - Father of the American novelEdgar Allan Poe - inventor of the American Short Story
8 IntroductionRalph Waldo Emerson is the Father of American TranscendentalismHenry David Thoreau is a famous practical transcendentalistHerman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne are Anti-RomanticsEmily Dickinson and Walt Whitman are bridge poets between American Romanticism and the late 19th century.
9 Transcendental view of the world Everything in the world, including human beings, is a reflection of the Divine Soul.The physical facts of the natural world are a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world.People can use their intuition to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature or in their own souls.
10 Transcendental view of the world Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to custom and tradition.Spontaneous feelings and intuition are superior to deliberate intellectualism and rationality.
11 IntroductionThe rationalistic view of urban life was replaced by the Romantic viewRationalists saw cities as a place to find success and self-realizationRomantics saw the city as a place of moral corruption, poverty, and death
12 Introduction The Romantic journey is to the countryside The Romantics associated the country with independence, moral clarity, and purityThe Gothic Romantic, Edgar Allan Poe, saw the country as a place of phantasmIrving saw the country as idyllic and as an escape
13 The Romantic Sensibility Romanticism: valuing feeling and intuition over reasonRomanticism: viewing life as we would like it to be, rather than how it really isRomanticism began in Germany and influenced literature, music, and artRomanticism is a reaction against Rationalism
14 The Romantic Sensibility The development of slums and poverty due to the Industrial Revolution turned people from RationalismRomantics believed that imagination, emotion, spontaneity, feelings, and nature were more important than rational thought
15 Characteristics of Romanticism values feelings over intuitionvalues the power of the imaginationseeks the beauty of unspoiled naturevalues youthful innocencevalues individual freedomvalues the lessons of the pastfinds beauty in exotic locales, the supernatural, and in the imaginationvalues poetry as the highest expression of the imaginationvalues myth, legend, and folk culture
16 Romantic EscapismRomantic writing looked for comforting or exotic settings from the pastThis was found in the supernatural, in nature, and/or in folk legendsRomantics believed in contemplating, or becoming one with the natural worldThe Gothic novel emerged from Romanticism
17 Romantic Escapism The Gothic novel had wild, haunted landscapes It had supernatural events in the plotIt was often mysteriousThe Gothic concept had roots in France, Germany, and EnglandEdgar Allan Poe was Romanticism’s great American writer
18 Romantic EscapismRomanticism also used lyrical poetry as a means to contemplate the beauty of natureIt focused on simple natural beautiesIts intent was to seek truth through a calm contemplation of a simple natural beautyRomantics saw God in this contemplation
19 The American NovelMost American Romantic writers imitated the European writing styleAmerican Romantic novelists broke away from the European tradition and discovered uniquely American topics and settingsAmerican novelists explored the vast unknown lands – something the Europeans could not do
20 The American NovelJames Fenimore Cooper was the first American novelist to break from European traditionHis novels were set in the American frontierHis central character, Natty Bumppo, was the first American literary hero
21 The American NovelBumppo appeared in a series of Cooper novels as other characters: Hawkeye, Deerslayer, Leatherstocking, etc.He was virtuous, moral, distrustful of city life, one with nature, etc.His skills were almost superhumanCooper’s series of novels were called The Leatherstocking Tales
22 The New American HeroAmerican Romantic literature created this unique person (the American Romantic Hero)he is youthful (young or possesses youthful qualities)he is innocent (innocent or pure of purpose)he is intuitive (has a knowledge of people and life based on deep, intuitive understanding, not on formal learning)
23 The New American Hero, con’t. he is one with nature (loves nature and avoids town life)he is a loner – uneasy around womenhe is handsomehe is brave (quests for some higher truth in the natural world)he is moral and honorable (has a sense of honor based not on society’s rules but on some higher principle
24 American Romantic Poetry Most Romantic poets worked within conventional European literary structuresThey proved that American poetry could reflect American subject matter, yet still hold to conventional poetic styleMost American Romantic poets wrote about the past
25 American Romantic Poetry The Fireside Poets, a Boston group of Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, and Lowell, were widely read and loved in AmericaThey were the TV of the American Romantic period and families gathered around the fireside to be entertained by their poetryTheir subject matter was comfortable and instructional
26 Adapted from http://www.wiziq.com/tutorial/235-American-Romanticism