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American Romanticism The Pattern of the Journey (pg. 138)

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Presentation on theme: "American Romanticism The Pattern of the Journey (pg. 138)"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Romanticism 1800-1860

2 American Romanticism The Pattern of the Journey (pg. 138)
Ben Franklin “journeyed” from his rural life to the “city” in search of opportunity Arthur Mervyn did the same, but instead of finding opportunity, found “a plague-ridden urban world of decay, corruption, and evil.”

3 American Romanticism Rationalists view of the city Romantics
civilized self-realization opportunity Romantics view of the city moral ambiguity corruption disease and death /25

4 American Romanticism The Rationalists journey from the country to the city. The Romantic movement, a reaction to the rationalists, was a journey to the countryside to find “independence, moral clarity, and healthful living” (142).

5 American Romanticism “American Romanticism can best be described as a journey away from the corruption of civilization and the limits of rational thought and toward the integrity of nature and the freedom of the imagination” (142).

6 American Romanticism Romanticism values “feeling and intuition over reason.” “To the Romantic sensibility the imagination, spontaneity, individual feelings, and wild nature were of greater value than reason, logic, planning, and cultivation.” p. 143

7 American Romanticism “Romanticism, originally a European movement, emphasized feeling and intuition over reason, sought wisdom in natural beauty, and valued poetry above all other works of the imagination.” p. 144

8 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

9 American Romanticism Champions individual freedom and the worth of the individual Contemplates nature’s beauty as a path to spiritual and moral development Looks backward to the wisdom of the past and distrusts progress

10 American Romanticism Finds beauty and truth in exotic locales, 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

11 American Romanticism Romantic Escapism - The Romantics wanted to rise about “dull realities” to a realm of higher truth. First, Romantics searched for exotic settings in the more “natural” past or in a world far removed from the grimy and noisy industrial age. Second, the Romantics tried to contemplate the natural world until dull reality fell away to reveal underlying beauty and truth.

12 American Romanticism “American Romanticism took two roads on the journey to understanding higher truths. One road led to the exploration of the past and of exotic, even supernatural realms; the other road led to the contemplation of the natural world.” p. 145

13 The American Novel American Romantic poets were copying the poetic styles of Europe. American novelists, however, were “discovering that the subject matter available to them was very different from the subjects available to European writers. A ‘geography of the imagination’ developed, in which town, country, and frontier would play a powerful role in American life and literature.” p. 146

14 The American Novel James Fenimore Cooper
Explored uniquely American settings and characters: frontier communities, American Indians, backwoodsmen, and the wilderness of western New York and Pennsylvania. Most of all, he created the first American heroic figure: Natty Bumppo (aka – Hawkeye, Deerslayer, and Leatherstocking).

15 A New Kind of Hero Rationalist Hero Romantic Hero Close to nature
Youthful Innocent Intuitive Romantic Hero Rationalist Hero worldly educated sophisticated wants a place in civilization

16 A New Kind of Hero Natty Bumppo heroic virtuous skillful frontiersman
simple morality love of nature distrust of town life superhuman resourcefulness

17 A New Kind of Hero Most Europeans had an image of the American as unsophisticated and uncivilized. Ben Franklin tried to change that image, but the Romantic novelists embraced it.

18 A New Kind of Hero Virtue was in American innocence, not in European sophistication. Eternal truths were waiting to be discovered not in dusty libraries or crowded cities or glittering court life, but in the American wilderness that was unknown and unavailable to Europeans. p. 147

19 A New Kind of Hero The American Romantic hero possesses qualities of youthfulness, innocence, intuitiveness, and closeness to the natural world that set him solidly apart from the hero of the Age of Reason. p. 149

20 A New Kind of Hero Is young or possesses youthful qualities
Is innocent and pure of purpose Has a sense of honor based not on society’s rules but on some higher principle Has a knowledge of people and of life based on deep, intuitive understanding, not on formal learning Loves nature and avoids town life Quests for some higher truth in the natural world

21 American Romantic Poetry
The Romantic poets wanted to prove that Americans were not unsophisticated hicks, and they attempted to prove this by working solidly within European literary traditions rather than by crafting a different and unique American voice. p. 149

22 American Romantic Poetry
The Fireside Poets, for many decades, were the most popular poets America had ever produced. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow John Greenleaf Whittier Oliver Wendell Holmes James Russell Lowell p. 149

23 American Romantic Poetry
Subject matter Love Patriotism Nature Family God Religion p. 149

24 American Romantic Poetry
Subject matter American folk themes Descriptions of American landscapes Abolitionist issues American Indian culture American people, places, and events p. 150

25 American Romantic Poetry
The Fireside Poets, immensely popular in their time, created some poems of lasting merit, but their essential literary conservatism prevented them from being truly innovative. The first uniquely American poetry was yet to be created. p. 150

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