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AMERICAN ROMANTICISM XIX CENTURY Romanticism It is a term applied to the movement in European literature and the other arts that began toward the end of the 18th century. The movement was a reaction against Neoclassicism. (imagination and emotions over reason and intellect and also an interest in medieval, Oriental cultures) In the US, romanticism developed at a later date than in Europe, and was less well defined. Historical context While America was expanding west, it also was dividing between north and south. In the northern United States, where the economy was largely industrial, many Americans opposed slavery and tried to restrict its spread or even outlaw it entirely. The southern states, on the other hand, had a primarily agricultural economy and depended heavily on slave labor. Despite attempts at compromise, such as the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and the Compromise of 1850, 11 southern states eventually seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. In the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 to 1865, the Confederate Army of the south--seeking its independence-fought against the north Union Army, which sought to preserve the Union. The war ended when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia. Historical context The Civil War, which ended in 1865, had largely resolved the division between the northern and southern states, and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 marked the fulfillment of the new country. Now that the period of division and expansion was largely over, America began to take shape as its modern self: a pluralistic, industrialized, and commercial society. During Reconstruction, the period of rebuilding after the Civil War, the United States ratified constitutional amendments designed to end slavery and to secure citizenship and voting rights for black Americans. Historical context Meanwhile, women widened their role in the culture, and immigrants started to flood into the United States. Between 1870 and 1910, around 16 million people immigrated to America from Ireland, Germany, Italy, and other countries, many of them coming through Ellis Island in New York. Many Native Americans, on the other hand, remained on the margins, having been forced from their homes onto reservations.. Many of these "new" Americans helped to shape the new America by going to work in factories and stores. Despite Thomas Jefferson's early hope that America would be an agrarian paradise, the United States now was clearly an industrial and commercial country but industrialization brought both adversity and growth. As a consequence, a strong labor movement developed to cope with poor working conditions, child labor, and other problems. FAMOUS WRITERS from the ROMANTIC PERIOD Herman Melville Washington Irving RIP VAN WINKLE SLEEPY HOLLOW Washington Irving BILLY BUD MOBBY DICK Herman Melville THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS THE SCARLET LETTER THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM THE RAVEN Edgar Allan Poe THE TELL-TALE HEART LEAVES OF GRASS Walt Whitman SAFE IN THE ALABASTER CHAMBER "Because I could not stop for death" "I heard a fly buzz when I died" "Hope is the thing with feathers" "My life closed twice before its close" "I felt a Funeral, in my brain" "The Soul selects her own society" "There is no frigate like a book" "There's a certain slant of light" "I'm Nobody! Who are you?" "Safe in their Alabaster chambers" Emily Dickinson AMERICAN ROMANTICISM XIX CENTURY The scarlet letter NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE Moby Dick The Last of the Mohicans J FERNIMORE COOPER The pit and the pendulum EDGAR ALLAN POE The tell-tale heart Sleepy Hollow Leaves of grass WALT WHITMAN “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers” EMILY DICKINSON HERMAN MELVILLE EDGAR ALLAN POE WASHINGTON IRVING American Romanticism Characteristics of American Romanticism Values feeling and intuition over reason o Values the imagination over reality o Civilization is bad / Nature is good o Educated sophistication is bad / Youthful innocence is good o Individual freedom is important o Nature is the way to find God o Progress is bad o Most settings are in exotic locations or the supernatural o Poetry is the highest expression of the imagination o Lots of inspiration from myths and legends American romanticism Characteristics of the American Romantic Hero o Young (or at least acts young) o Innocent and pure o Sense of honor higher than society’s honor o Has knowledge of people and life based on a deep understanding, not based on education o Loves nature o Quests for a higher truth LESSON SUMMARY Identify American Romantic literature Imagination and Escapism: Characters taking a journey from the dirty city into the supernatural countryside. Individuality: Individuals embracing freedom by following intuition and going exploring. Finding spirituality in nature: Reflections on nature and how it can bring people closer to God. Looking to the past for wisdom: Settings that reflect past times and plots that show how legends fit in today. Finding a hero in the common man: Characters who are flawed but whose innocence and strong morals give them good hearts. FAMOUS WRITERS from the ROMANTIC PERIOD Herman Melville Washington Irving Washington Irving The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Some notes on the author With the political revolution against England, however, came a cultural revolution, and Americans slowly began to build an independent cultural identity, which included a strong literary component. For the first time, America had a significant number of men and women of letters--that is, writers who created works appreciated for their aesthetic value and who made a career or at least a serious avocation of literature. The first of these writers was Washington Irving, whose Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, first published in 1819, was a sensation in England (it was written during a tour there) and helped build the United States. A transitional figure, Irving somewhat ironically contributed to America's literary independence while producing work that was distinctively European in content and style. Like his contemporary James Fernimore Cooper, Irving proved that Americans could write European literature as well as Europeans could. Irving is a major figure in the history of the short story in America. Indeed, "Rip Van Winkle" and the "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,“ are considered as the starting point for this literary form in the United States.(both appeared in Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” thought to have a source in some German folktales concerning “The Wild Huntman”, tells the story of Ichabod Crane, a greedy and naïve schoolmaster from Connecticut who tries to win the hand of the flirtatious and very wealthy Katrina Van Tassel. Brom Bones, a neighborhood hero, is also in love with Katrina, and he has a tendency to play pranks on others Ichabod is especially fascinated by ghost stories and witches, and Sleepy Hollow is known for its supernatural activity--especially its infamous ghost, the Headless Horseman. The Dark Romantics: E. Allan Poe 1800 Romantic Period 1860 1840 American Renaissance AMERICAN RENAISSANCE (1840-1860) AMERICAN RENAISSANCE The Dark Romantics Trascendentalists THE DARK ROMANTICS Moby Dick The Scarlet Letter The Tell Tale Heart The Dark Romantics They explore the inner workings of the mind. They present individuals as prone to sin and self destruction. The natural world is dark, decaying, and mysterious. They show individuals failing in their attempts to make changes for the better. They have a shadowy approach to the fantastical. Dark romantic elements 1. Lots of creepy symbols (objects,characters..) 2. Horrific themes 1. struggles of human nature (evil-good) 2. deterioration of the mind and psychological processes of madness 3. Psychological effects of guilt and sins CONTRAST Romantic elements Dark romantic elements 1. Optimistic approach 1. Shadowy and dark approach. 2. Sins are properly punished 2. Horrific themes and creepy symbols. 3. Psychological effects of guilt and sin 3. Truly good are rewarded POE and THE TELL-TALE HEART Edgar Allen Poe is one of the best-known and most influential writers in all of literature, and “The Tell-Tale Heart” is one of his most famous stories. In the story, an unnamed narrator, desperate to prove his sanity, proves just the opposite in recounting what drove him to commit murder. As an author, Poe was a Gothic moralist whose themes and styles were distinctly his own: many of his stories deal with macabre subjects like insanity, murder, torture and death. He explored other genres, too, but “The Tell-Tale Heart” exemplifies the tone and subject matter for which Poe is best remembered.