ROMANTICISM (1800 – 1870) The American Renaissance

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ROMANTICISM (1800 1870) The American Renaissance. Definition of Romanticism. Demonstration of a high level of moral enthusiasm A commitment to individualism and the unfolding of the self An emphasis on intuitive perception - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


ROMANTICISM (1800 1870) The American Renaissance

ROMANTICISM (1800 1870)The American Renaissance

Definition of RomanticismDemonstration of a high level of moral enthusiasmA commitment to individualism and the unfolding of the selfAn emphasis on intuitive perception The assumption that the natural world was inherently good, while human society was filled with corruption.

Definition of RomanticismIt is an international artistic and philosophical movement that redefined the fundamental ways in which people in Western cultures thought about themselves and about their world.Definition of RomanticismEmbraced the individual and rebelled against the confinement of neoclassicism and religious tradition. Novels, short stories, and poems replaced the sermons and manifestos of yore. Was personal, intense, and portrayed more emotion than ever seen in neoclassical literature. Freedom became a great source of motivation. Free to express emotion without fear of ridicule and controversy.4Characteristics of RomanticsExplored what it meant to be an American (artist)

Looked at American government and political problems

The problems of war and Black slavery

Emerging materialism and conformity

Influence of immigration, new customs and traditions

Sexuality; relationships between men and women

The power of nature Individualism, emphasis on destructive effect of society on individual


Spontaneity in thought and action Not an optimistic vision of America; pictures of human frailty, weakness, limitation

Characteristics of RomanticsWriters spoke not directly but obliquely, ambiguously

Christianity a valuable source of symbols

Stories built around dreams Stories of emblematic pilgrimages or journeys

Hero seems to represent a general type of person

Belief that evil is merely the absence of good

Through the symbolism of writing, portrayal of the reality beyond whats visible, thus putting into practice the central notion of Transcendental thought.

Critique of formalized church, faith must come from within


Definition of TranscendentalismTextbook defines it as:

A group of writers, artists, and reformers who flourished in the 1830s and 1840s, the individual was at the center of the universe, more powerful than any institution, whether political or religious.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is considered the founder of this literary movement.Definition of TranscendentalismA generation of well educated people who lived in the decades before the American Civil War and the national division that it both reflected and helped to create. These people were attempting to create a uniquely American body of literature. It was already decades since the Americans had won independence from England. Now, these people believed, it was time for literary independence. And so they deliberately went about creating literature, essays, novels, philosophy, poetry, and other writing that were clearly different from anything from England, France, Germany, or any other European nation.

Definition of TranscendentalismIn the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds...A nation of men will for the first time exist, because each believes himself inspired by the Divine Soul which also inspires all men.

Characteristics of TranscendentalismBasically religious, emphasized role and importance of individual conscience and value of intuition in matters of moral guidance and inspiration. Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Fuller. Critical of formalized religion.

All constructive practical activity, great literature viewed as an expression of the divine spirit.

An ambition to achieve vivid perception of the divine as it operates in common life which would lead to personal cultivation

Insistence on authority of individual conscience

A trust in the individual, democracy, possibility of continued change for the better

A need to see beyond what is before our eyes, to see a deeper significance, a transcendent reality

Intellectual eclecticism; a vague conception of the God-like nature of human spirit

Nature conceived of not as a machine but as an organism, symbol and analogue of the mind Spontaneous activity of the creative artist seen as the highest achievement

TranscendentalismOverall gist: The Transcendental philosophy is one that requires one to transcend above normal thinking to a higher state of consciousness.

Anti-TranscendentalismAnti-Transcendentalisma small philosophical movement predominantly consisting of only two writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville.Hawthorne and Melville are considered two of the great fiction writer of their time and together they stood up in opposition to what they felt was impractical perspective.Anti-TranscendentalismAnti-Transcendentalists have important elements that are generally agreed on: man is born with the stain of the original sin, man is the most destructive force in nature, one can only find God through good works and life experience, There are no universal truths just individual truths.


Definition of Gothic Romance

Writers looked at the individual and saw potential evilDeals with desolate and mysterious and grotesque eventsIndividuals are prone to sin and self-destruction and the natural world is dark and decaying.Rebelled against the philosophy that man is basically good.Evil is a powerful force in the world.Characteristics of Gothic Romance

More interest in action than in the development of character

Action often fantastic, allegorical, interest in the supernatural, terror, madness

Characters have mysterious origins; tend to be ideal, exaggerated, more types Suspense and mystery involving fantastic and supernatural, interest in light and shade

Interest in evil, its origins

Descriptions of various mental states often verging on the abnormal

Writers of Romantic PeriodProse: Washington Irving (1783 1859) James Fennimore Cooper (1789 1851)

William Cullen Bryant (1794 1878) Edgar Allan Poe (1809 1849)

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 1882) Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 1864)

Margaret Fuller (1810 1850)

Henry David Thoreau 1817 1862)

Herman Melville (1819 1891)

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811- 1896) Louisa May Alcott (1832 1888)

Poetry: The Boston Brahmins

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (18071882) Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 1894) James Russell Lowell (1819 1891) Walt Whitman (1819 1892) Emily Dickinson (1830 1886) Historical Events1812 War with England1815-50 Westward Expansion1846-48 Mexican War1849 California gold rush1861-1865 Civil War 1863 - Gettysburg Address

PUBLICATIONSEmerson, Nature (1836) Poe, The Raven (1845) Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850) Melville, Moby Dick (1851) Stowe, Uncle Toms Cabin (1852)Thoreau, Walden (1854) Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)


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