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American Romanticism

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Powerpoint for notes from class on 1/10/11 or 1/11/11. You WILL need to see a classmate or Ms. O'Daniel for more complete notes if you were absent.

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American Romanticism

  1. 1. American Romanticism Society’s Impact on the Individual Writer
  2. 2. Changes in America Louisiana Purchase Manifest Destiny Mexican-American War
  3. 3. Conflicts in Emotion Patriotism vs. individualism Should we support our nation no matter what? Urban vs. untamed Contrast between settled cities and new wilderness Wealthy vs. enslaved Expansion and industrialization led to financial gains, but slavery for African Americans
  4. 4. Writers reacted by turning to nature and to the self for simplicity, truth, and beauty
  5. 5. Early Romantics William Cullen Bryant, Washington Irving Reacted to Puritanism Aimed to capture the energy and character of their growing country Saw limits to reason and celebrated human nature Optimistic
  6. 6. Fireside Poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes Uplifting and romantically engaging Family custom: reading poetry around a fire Celebrated individualism, nature, social reform
  7. 7. The Transcendentalists
  8. 8. What does “transcendentalism” mean? There is an ideal spiritual state which “transcends” the physical and empirical. It is a loose collection of eclectic ideas about literature, philosophy, religion, social reform, and the general state of American culture. Had different meanings for each person involved in the movement.
  9. 9. What did transcendentalists believe? There is an ideal spiritual state, which “transcends” the physical and empirical (gained by experience).
  10. 10. Basic Premise #1 An individual is the spiritual center of the universe, and in an individual can be found the clue to nature, history and, ultimately, the world itself. It is not a rejection of the existence of God, but a preference to explain an individual and the world in terms of an individual.
  11. 11. Basic Premise #2 The structure of the universe literally duplicates the structure of the individual self—all knowledge, therefore, begins with self-knowledge. This is similar to Aristotle's dictum "know thyself."
  12. 12. Basic Premise #3 Transcendentalists accepted the concept of nature as a living mystery, full of signs; nature is symbolic.
  13. 13. Basic Premise #4 The belief that individual virtue and happiness depend upon self- realization—this depends upon the reconciliation of two universal psychological tendencies: The desire to embrace the whole world—to know and become one with the world. The desire to withdraw, remain unique and separate—an egotistical existence.
  14. 14. Who were the Transcendentalists? Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau
  15. 15. The Dark Romantics Does every individual have a dark side?
  16. 16. The Dark Romantics Inspired by nature Fascinated with the supernatural Didn’t have the same faith in the goodness of humankind Aware of human capacity for evil
  17. 17. Freedom of imagination led them to: Explore inner life and motivation of characters Include fantastic or supernatural elements in their writing You may recognize them as… Edgar Allan Poe Nathaniel Hawthorne

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