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Chapter 28: The Romantic Hero

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by Christopher Litten on 23 May 2014

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Transcript of Chapter 28: The Romantic Hero

Chapter 28
The Romantic Hero
1780-1880

Romantic heroes in art and literature.
Art used for nationalistic purposes.
Freedom is a recurring theme.
Ethnic diversity is admired.
Gothic architecture is revived.
Music expresses romantic ideals.
The ballet and opera become popular art forms.
Literary Heroes
Gilgamesh
Achilles
Roland
Heroic Authors
Victor Hugo
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Herman Melville
Hawthorne
Hugo
Melville
Heroes and
Authors
Superhuman ambitions
Shared cultural values
Dedicated to liberty and equality
Egocentric
Misanthropic
Romantic Hero
Napoleon Bonaparte declares himself emperor of France in 1804
Abolished serfdom
expropriated Church possessions
Curtailed feudal privileges
Spread ideals of liberty, fraternity, and equality
Supported nationalism
What a thing is imagination!…Yes, imagination rules the world. The defect of our modern institutions is that they do not speak to the imagination. By that alone can man be governed; without it he is but a brute.
Prometheus stole sacred fire and gave it to humans.
He was chained to a rock where a vulture fed on his liver.
Represented a suffering hero.
Symbol of freedom
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan, by George Gordon, Lord Byron
Boris Godunov and Eugene Onegin, by Alexander Pushkin.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, by Frederick Douglass.
I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.

I thought that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body to corruption.
Inspired by ideals of liberty and brotherhood.
Byronic hero is similar to Prometheus.
“Silent suffering, and intense.”
“Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,/ To render with thy precepts less/ The sum of human wretchedness,/And strengthen Man with his own mind.”
Russian
Championed political freedom.
Banished due to his liberal beliefs.
Admired Napoleon
O hero, with whose bloodied story
Long, long the earth will still resound,
Sleep in the shadow of your glory,
The desert ocean all around…
A tomb of rock, in splendor riding!
American Prometheans
Frederick Douglass
Nat Turner

My Bondage and My Freedom
“I am,” thought I, “not only the slave of Master Thomas, but I am the slave of society at large. Society at large has bound itself, in form and in fact, to assist Master Thomas, but I am the slave of society at large. Society at large has bound itself, in form and in fact, to assist Master Thomas in robbing me of liberty. As a society has marked me out as privileged plunder, on the principle of self-preservation I am justified in plundering in turn. Since each slaves belongs to all; all must, therefore, belong to each other.
I shall here make a profession of faith which may shock some, offend others, and be dissented from by all. It is this: Within the bounds of his just earnings, I hold that the slave is fully justified in helping himself to the gold and silver, and the best apparel of his master, or that of any slaveholder; and that such taking is not stealing in any just sense of that word.
Frederick Douglass
Emancipated in 1828
Changed her name to Sojourner Truth in 1843
Dictated narrative
Orator
“Ain’t I a Woman” speech
Sorrow songs
Spirituals
Longing for freedom
Egyptian bondage motif
Based on 16th century German legend.
Lust for knowledge and experience.
Struggle against damnation.
Represents passionate scholar who tries to exert power over nature.
Friendship
Religious love
Sexual love
Unrequited or unfulfilled love
male: self-invention, strength, glorified female
female: femme fatale, seducer, destroyer of mankind.
Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
Mary Godwin Shelley, Frankenstein
Madame de Stael
George Sand, Lelia


“All loves are true, whether they be fiery or peaceful, sensual or ascetic, lasting or transient, whether they lead men to suicide or pleasure.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe and Uncle Tom's Cabin
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