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Transcript of American Romanticism
What might have influenced Romanticism?
Literary Characteristics of Romanticism
Literary Devices commonly used in Romantic writing:
Topics for Theme
Walt Whitman (1819-1893)
Unlike early American literature that focused on religion, politics, and sermon, American Romanticism reflects a time period (1800-1860) where American artists and writers shifted their values and focused on individualism.
Universe is mysterious and irrational.
Good receive justice; nature can punish or reward.
Plot arranged around crisis--plot is very important in romantic literature.
Plot will demonstrate romantic love, honesty and integrity, idealism of self.
Romantic literature conveys supernatural foreshadowing such as a dream or vision.
Setting is described using imagery and feelings.
Encompass emotional intensity
Nature as refuge, source, or knowledge
William Cullen Bryant
Edgar Allen Poe
Henry David Thoreau
Ralph Waldo Emerson
American poet, essayist, and journalist
He was a transcendentalist
He is most famous of his poetry collection,
Leaves of Grass
. At the time it was considered very controversial for its sexual innuendos.
He strongly opposed slavery and his writing often portrayed his egalitarian views of the races.
This was a time period where "romantics" revolted against the "age of reason." They celebrated nature, imagination, and intuition.
America was expanding towards the west; this promised growth and freedom.
Rapid growth of industrialization, education, transportation, and cities transformed society.
Numerous reform movements took place seeking to improve social conditions.
Discontent over slavery intensified as the abolitionist movement gained momentum.
There was a search for new spiritual roots.
View of Round-Top in the Catskill Mountains (1827) by Thomas Cole
American Progress by John Gast
I Hear America Singing.
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
hand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
as he stands,
The woodcutter's song, the ploughboy's on his way in the morn-
ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
Henry David Thoreau
American poet, philosopher, abolitionist, historian, and transcendentalist.
He is best known for his book,
, and his essay, "Civil Disobedience."
When Thoreau was twenty-eight years old, he cut himself off from civilization and lived life at Walden Pond. This was a pond located on land owned by his friend and fellow transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. This is where he wrote,
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."
What is this poem about? Who is the "captain" ?
What is the mood?
What is the ship?
Why are is lips "pale and cold" ?