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Teaching American Romanticism

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Tabitha Roper

on 6 December 2013

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Transcript of Teaching American Romanticism

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.
I don't
want to think!
I just want
to FEEL!
Make things up.
Discuss the supernatural
Be in the moment
Be spontaneous
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
for you
and me
just wait
and see
American Romantic writers lived by the five "I"s
Native American
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
individual/common man
What influenced American Romanticism?
War of 1812
Western expansion
Lousiana Purchase
California Gold Rush
Mexican-American War
Northern Industrial Growth
Search for new spiritual growth
Characteristic Attitudes
of Romantics
the individual - glorified the common man, not just the highly educated
the subjective
the irrational
the immaginative
the personal
the spontaneous
the emotional
the visionary
the transcendental
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
Emergence of
Founded on
~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
~Inalienable rights
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
Distrusts progress
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
Rationalists view...
These cities were seen as a place of industry, success, self-realization, and civilization.
Romantics view...
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
James Lowell
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.
Full transcript