American Romanticism 1800- 1860Objectives
Recognize similarities & differences in Puritans & TranscendentalistsEncounter non-fiction works & biographical information: Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David ThoreauUnderstand the philosophy of TranscendentalismCreate your own Transcendental SocietyView & respond to film, The Dead Poets Society
Americans lookedto untamed natureas inspirationfor a uniquely American art. Cole was a leaderof this new Americanlandscape painting.In this painting of theAdirondack Mountains, Cole erases all signs ofwhite settlement, & depictsa Native American as thelone inhabitant.
Indian Pass (1847)By Thomas Cole
Examine the Thomas Colepainting. What attitudestowards nature are suggested by this painting?
The Romantic Sensibility:Celebrating ImaginationThe Romantics valuedimaginationindividual feelingsNatureoverreasonlogiccultivation
Poetry ~ the highest embodiment of the imagination
Romantic Escapism: From Dull Realities to Higher TruthsRomantics sought a higher truth by:
searching for exotic settings as in the supernatural realm or in old legends and folklore
reflecting on the natural world until dull reality fell away to reveal underlying truth & beauty gaining insight from an ordinary object in nature
Characteristics of American RomanticismIntuitionImaginationInnocenceInspiration from natureInner experience
Emerson & Transcendentalists: The American RootsEmersons thought processwas Intuitive,in contrast withBen FranklinsRational approachto thinking.
The American Novel &the Wilderness Experience
The development of the American novelcoincided with
Westward expansionGrowth of national spiritRapid spread of cities
James Fenimore Cooper Created the first American heronamed Natty Bumpo,also known asHawkeyeDeerslayerLeatherstocking
American Fiction HeroesCharacteristicsYoungInnocentIntuitiveLoves natureQuest for higher truth
Current day examples Lone RangerLuke SkywalkerSupermanIndiana Jones
American Romantic Poetry: Read at Every FiresideRomantic poets used Typically EnglishThemesMeterImagery
Fireside PoetsHenry Wadsworth LongfellowJohn Greenleaf WhittierOliver Wendell HolmesRussell Lowell
In reference to Walt WhitmanEmerson said,
I greet you at thebeginning of agreat career.
Transcendentalist:True Reality is SpiritualThe leader of the Transcendentalist was Massachusetts writer and lecturer Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendental refers to the idea that indetermining the
ultimate reality of Godthe universethe selfother important manners
One must transcend, or go beyond, everyday humanexperience in the physical world
Dark RomanticsIncludes authors such asNathaniel HawthorneHerman MelvilleEdgar Allan Poe
Values in common w/ Transcendentalists:Intuition over reasoningSaw signs & symbols in events
In contrast, they did not believe that nature isnecessarily good or harmless
They explored:Conflict between good & evilPsychological effects of guilt & sinAnd madness
Ralph Waldo Emerson:The Early YearsBorn in Boston, Massachusetts
From a cultured,but poor family
His father died of TB when Ralph was only 8 years old
His mother & aunt raised the family of 6 children
Emerson entered Harvardat the age of 14
Burden of ExpectationFollowing an eight yeartradition, Emerson became a minister.
Being an independentthinker, he feltuncomfortable being achurch leader.
Soin 1832 he left theministry and headedfor
While abroad, Emerson befriended many famous writers. Such as theRomantic PoetsWilliam Wordsworth andSamuel Taylor Coleridge
Transcendentalism In the words of EmersonThe Transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light & power; he believes in inspiration and ecstasy.
The American ScholarIn 1837, Emerson gave a speech to students at Harvard. He demanded that American scholars free themselves from the shackles of the past. Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close.
Divinity-School AddressEmersons second speech to Harvard students called for a rejection of institutional religion in favor of a personal relation with God. It outraged authoritiesnot until 3 decades later did Emerson speak again at Harvard.
Emerson on Politics In spite of being involved in Concord politics, Emerson was a reluctant participant. From thefirst he had believed that theslaves should be freed. But heavoided the radical societies that werepromoting abolition. As slavery clamoredEmerson, against his instincts, actively associated himselfwith the abolitionist cause. He contributed to the causebeyond his means. One of his children once wrote in aschool essay, no house should be built without having in ita space to hide a runaway slave.
Henry David ThoreauBorn in Concord, MA in 1817Father was a pencil manufacturerMother took in boarders(among them Emersons sister-in-law)Entered Harvard in 1833Thoreau and his brother opened a privateschool in 1839 that lasted only 2 years,however they developed a neweducational practice: field trips for nature study!He had several loves, but never married andnever traveled far from Concord.He died of tuberculosis at the age of 44
Thoreau on WritingEssentially, your truest poetic sentence is as free and lawless as a lambs bleat. The grammarian is often one who can neither cry nor laugh, yet thinks that he can express human emotions.Referring to some rules forspeaking & writing he said:Any fool can make a ruleAnd every fool will mind it.Success is due to blend of style & content.He looked to nature as a model for life.
The RebelIndependent and eccentric, he refused to wear black to chapel he choose a green coat insteadProtested against the Mexican War by refusing to pay the poll tax - spent the night in jail.Wrote Resistance to Civil Government which inspired passive resistance which was laterused by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thoreauon dying1860 Thoreau caught a cold turned out to be Tuberculosis, which was deadly thenHe faced his coming death with great calmHenry, have you made your peace with God? his aunt asked him toward the end. Why , Aunt, he replied, I didnt know we had ever quarreled.
ImageryThe use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, a thing, a place, or an experience. Images appeal to one or more of the five sensessight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste.
As we read from Nature, look for examples of images that appeal to the senses.
Birds of Waldentanagerveerysparrowthrushwhippoorwill
Figures of SpeechWords or phrases that describes somethingin terms of another and are not meant literally.Simile: comparison between 2 unlike things, using words such as like, than, asExample: She was as sharp as a tack.
Metaphor: a comparison between 2 unlike things in which 1 is said to be another Example: He was a tiger in the ring.
Personification: object or animal is given human thoughts or feelings.Example: The purse cried out, BUY ME!
Symbol: person, place, thing, or event that has meaning in itself & that also stands for something more than itself.Example: pink ribbon is a symbol for breast cancer awareness
Your task: Find examples of each in the text.
Nature1-A person goes where to be alone?2-Truly seeing nature is child-like because . . .3-Which part of a farm can not be owned?4-Emersons meaning of nature.5-Feelings while crossing the bare common6-Nature wears the colors of..?7-Why does Emerson call himself atransparent eyeball?8-Purpose of this essay??9-Emerson finds this in the woods.10-Emersons attitude toward society11-Use of Imagery in Nature12-At least 5 new words
Journal EntryYou have brains in your head.You have feet in your shoes.You can steer yourself any direction you choose.Youre on your own. and you know what you know.And YOU are the guy wholl decide where to go. Dr. Seuss