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American romanticism unit introduction
Transcript of American romanticism unit introduction
Historical Context Continued
Growth of Industry
Call for social reform
By the mid-19th century, many Americans had joined together to fight slavery and other social ills
In the 1830s and 40s, workers began to protest low wages and poor working conditions
Women at this time also began to protest
Features of Romantic Literature
Romanticism: Historical Context
The Spirit of Exploration:
American Romanticism Unit 2 introduction
Patriotic and Individualistic, urban and untamed, wealthy and enslaved--Americans in the first half of the 19th century embodied a host of contradictions. Struggling to make sense of their complex, inconsistent society, writers of the period turned inward for a sense of truth. Their movement, known as romanticism, explored the glories of the individual spirit, the beauty of nature, and the possibilities of the imagination.
Writers of this time period witnessed a period of great growth and opportunity for the young American nation:
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase doubles the country's size-explorers continue pushing farther west
American embraced the idea of "Manifest Destiny," the idea that it was the God-given destiny and right of the US to expand
This expansion and growth came at a price:
Native Americans were forced to leave land or were killed
Industrial Revolution=changing economy, changing communities
Factory system changed way of life--not always for the better
Writers reflected this shift in daily life in their stories and essays
Writers of the period reacted to the negative effects of industrialization--the commercialism, hectic pace, and lack of conscience--by turning to nature and to the self for simplicity, truth, and beauty
Historical forces shaped the literature of the American romantic period. Writers responded--positively and negatively--to the country's astonishing growth and to the booming Industrial Revoultion
tragedy of slavery
For slaves, life was brutal. They endured backbreaking work, beatings, ad abuse. Many families were broken apart through selling and re-selling of slaves
Tension over slavery increased between the North and the South. Many in the North saw slavery as immoral and worked as abolitionists
Romantic writers responded to the injustices of slavery, and created an awareness of its cruelty through their writing
many romantic writes were outspoken in their support for human rights. their words created awareness of the injustice of slavery and called for reform in many other areas as well, such as women's rights and fair working conditions
Celebrated the glories of the individual spirit, the emotions, and imagination over reason and rationalism
Influenced by European writers who were reacting against the Age of Reason
Reflected more modern sensibilities of American--aimed to capture the energy and character of their growing country
Explores relationship between human passions and rules of society
key idea: topics of individualism and nature unifies the writing of the american romantic moment, despite dramatic differences in the writers' focus and style.
The term comes from Immanuel Kant (German philosopher)
He wrote of transcendent forms of knowledge that exist beyond reason and experience
Emerson's American Spin:
Every individual is capable of discovering this higher truth on his or her own, through intuition
Transcendentalist believed that people are inherently good and should follow their own beliefs, however different these beliefs may be from the norm
features of transcendentalism
Emphasis on simple life and close relationship to nature
Celebrated emotions and imagination (part of Romantic Period)
Stressed individualism and self-reliance
Encouraged spiritual well-being over financial well-being
Can you think of any modern examples of literature or film that reflect features of the Romantic Period?