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Teaching American Romanticism
Transcript of Teaching American Romanticism
Reaction to Age of Reason
Focuses on emotional side
of human nature
Who cares about reason and logic?
I just want to be OUTSIDE.
want to think!
I just want
Make things up.
Discuss the supernatural
Be in the moment
Be messy and organic
Trust yourself; every heart vibrates to that iron string
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let your heart be your guide.
And the world
will be a better place
American Romantic writers lived by the five "I"s
Myths and Legends
The Age of Reason
Where we came from...
Where we're going...
Derives from "romance"
Adventuristic and Improbable
Began in England around 1770
Obsession with the
What influenced American Romanticism?
War of 1812
California Gold Rush
Northern Industrial Growth
Search for new spiritual growth
the individual - glorified the common man, not just the highly educated
deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature
emotions over reason and senses over intellect
focus on passion and inner struggles
New view of artists as supreme creators, whose creative spirits are more important that strict rules and traditions
Imagination is a gateway to transcend experience and spiritual truth
Fond of the exotic, remote, mysterious, weird, monstrous, diseased and even the satanic
Provides commentary on human nature/society
Glorifies the past and simplicity
Characters rely on feeling/intuition in order to make decisions
~Deism - people are inherently good; individuals have the gift of reason & can be perfect
~Rationalism (Logic) - truth can be obtained through REASON, not by the authority of the past, religion, or intuition
Characteristics of Romanticism
Values feeling and intuition over reason
Faith in "inner experience" and imagination
Shuns artificial civilization & seeks unspoiled nature
Individual freedom & individual worth
Nature's beauty leads to spiritual & moral development
Finds beauty & truth in exotic places
Poetry is the highest expression of the imagination
The Romantic Hero
Young or possesses youthful qualities
innocent & pure of purpose
Sense of honor (not from society, but a higher principle)
Knowledge from deep, intuitive understanding NOT formal learning
Loves nature - avoids town life
Quest for higher truth in nature world
It also brought
industrialization, growth of cities & factories
American Expansion (Lewis & Clark Expedition and Manifest Destiny)
More encounters with Native Americans
These cities were seen as a place of industry, success, self-realization, and civilization.
These cities were a place of poor work conditions, moral ambiguity, corruption, and death.
Romantics disliked cities.
Believed that nature held the key to spiritual enlightenment and understanding of self
The Fireside Poets
Henry James Longfellow
William Cullen Bryant
Oliver Wendell Holmes
John Greenleaf Whittier
Most popular American poets of the time
Poems were often read aloud at the fireside as family entertainment
Return to traditional forms and structures
Topics: love, patriotism, nature, family, & religion
It is poetry that seeks a higher truth from the natural world.