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The Dark Romantics

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on 22 May 2018

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Transcript of The Dark Romantics

The Dark Romantics
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts
Changed his last name to distance himself from John Hathorne, a judge who condemned many during the Salem Witch Trials
Published his first novel,
, anonymously in 1828
Wrote a number of short stories while working as a weigher and gauger at the Boston Custom House, including

"Young Goodman Brown"

"The Minister's Black Veil"

These short stories were published in various periodicals, and for the first time together in his 1837 collection
Twice-Told Tales
Hawthorne fell in love with Sophia Peabody, an illustrator and transcendentalist in 1841, and joined the transcendentalist utopian society Brook Farm
used this experience to write his novel The Blithedale Romance
They married in 1842 and moved to Concord, MA where Hawthorne took a job as a surveyor at the Salem Custom House
The Dark Romantics
The dark romantics wrote in reaction to the romantics, who took an optimistic approach to the mystical aspects of the universe.

The dark romantics took a Gothic, more serious approach to these mystical elements and found darkness and evil in them.

Often, the evil took over the good.

Their writing often had three (3) characteristics.
The American Renaissance
Period from 1840-1860 during which uniquely American literature emerged and flourished
Follows the American Romantic period (1800-1860)
During this time, writers could generally be put into one of two subgenres: the
Dark Romantics
or the

1. Creepy Symbols
Something that stands for something else
Used to help readers make connections beyond the story
Edgar Allen Poe, in his poem "The Raven", uses the raven as asymbol for deal and hopelessness. Ravens are known for appearing at battlefields and picking at the dead.

The Romantics saw evil everywhere, so their symbols often represent evil entitties, like spirits or devils.
2. Horrific Themes
central idea of the text
The Dark Romantics studied the struggles of human nature. They believed that human nature was less than good, and so evil could take hold of it.

They also believed that our surroundings were filled with evil, which encourages their readers to question everything around them.

Dark Romantics wanted to explore the horrors of evil that were present in everyone, so they spend a lot of time looking at their characters' thought processes.
" vs. "
Focus on the psychological!
3. Psychological Effects of Guilt and Sin
Dark Romantic writers want to explore the psychological effects of guilt and sin, so we often see characters who are dealing with guilt, and that guilt drives them to the grotesque, fantastic, or morbid.
This means that the reader is often stuck in the character's mind, watching it deteriorate.
Famous in his day - known for having lots of important friends, being handsome, and quite shy
Most of what we know from his life is from his diaries which were discovered after his death
Hawthorne never felt satisfied at his job, and luckily he was fired in 1848, giving him plenty of free time to write

He published
The Scarlet Letter
in 1850

When Franklin Pierce (his close friend) was elected as president, he was given the position of United States consul in Liverpool, allowing his family to tour France and Italy freely

Died on May 19, 1864

Hawthorne's wife, Sophia, continued to publish his writings until 1871
Hawthorne's personal experiences fueled many of his stories
The Blithedale Romance
House of Seven Gables

Hawthorne was quite embarrassed of his Puritan ancestry, and researched Puritan beliefs and history thoroughly
Writing Style
Uses symbols and metaphors to teach lessons

Focuses on the psychological

Known for long, drawn-out sentences
"In my native town of Salem, at the head of what, half a century ago, in the days of old King Derby, was a bustling wharf, --but which is now burdened with decayed wooden warehouses, and exhibits few or no symptoms of commercial life; except, perhaps, a bark or brig, half-way down its melancholy length, discharging hides; or, nearer at hand, a Nova Scotia schooner, pitching out her cargo of firewood, --at the head, I say, of this dilapidated wharf, which the tide often overflows, and along which, at the base and in the rear of the row of buildings, the track of many languid years is seen in a border of unthrifty grass, --here, with a view from its front windows adown this not very enlivening prospect, and thence across the harbour, stands a spacious edifice of brick."
From "The Custom-House"
lengthy descriptions
eloquent language
The Scarlet Letter
- An Allegory
literary device where the characters and objects in a story represent something else in order to teach a lesson
1:1 symbol
Hawthorne uses the allegory to demonstrate the hypocrisy, sin, and corruption rampant as a result of Puritan religious beliefs.
Historical Background: The English Reformation
Begins during the reign of Henry VIII
decides he no longer wants to be married to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, after there are no male heirs
by 1527, Catherine considered too old to have kids
decides to marry Anne Boleyn
PROBLEM: Henry VIII was Catholic
If he decided to go through with a divorce, he could get excommunicated
Henry VII tries to get a special "Papal Dispensation", but the pope denies him

By 1533, Henry VIII is fed up and orders the Archbishop of Canterbury to grant him a divorce so that he can marry Anne Boleyn

Leads England to break away from the Roman Catholic Church

Henry places himself at the head of the Church of England (1534) [Anglicanism]

Henry then shuts down the monasteries of England
the "Dissolution" (complete by 1840)
Puritanism developed as a
to the English Reformation
The Puritans thought that the English Reformation had stopped short of ridding itself of "Roman" Catholicism
Sought to "purify" the church by adhering strictly to the moral teachings of the Bible
Historical Background: Puritanism
Puritans were unsuccessful in "purifying" the Church of English, so they decide to seek a new life in Holland and "new" England (c. 1630)
establish a

Puritan Theology and Practice
The Bible as the "owner's manual" for personal as well as church and state conduct
people are on Earth to find out God's will and follow it
humans are by nature evil and can only be saved from eternal damnation by the grace of God and not their good works
the state needs to punish sinners for the good of their souls and as examples of conduct to be avoided
no music in church, no erotic poetry, no swearing, idleness, or drunkenness
Massachusetts Bay Colony: A Puritan Community
established in England as a trading company with a governor, deputy governor, and 18 assistants
stockholders were freemen that could belong to the General Court that elected company officers and voted on company affairs
John Winthrop was the first Governor
planned as an ideal Christian community
...vs. The Virginia Company (Jamestown Colony)
motivated by mercantilist profit
governed by a learned elite over an uneducated populace
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