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American Voices: Romanticism & Gothic Literature Lesson

For English III

T.J. W.S.

on 14 October 2018

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Transcript of American Voices: Romanticism & Gothic Literature Lesson

Standards & Objectives:
RI.11-12.3 & RL.11-12.3
Content: To understand how Romanticism began overseas in Europe and then spread to America and how this influenced the literature of the time period and gave us the universal themes typically understood in this realm of literature.

Language: Understand Romanticism as it is used in Europe vs. America and to understand the Gothic genre of Romanticism. Also, revisit Transcendentalism and understand how they are similar and yet very different.

Social: Students will respond to a variety of philosophical questions via Canvas discussion that tests their knowledge on Transcendentalism and Romanticism.
American Romanticism was the first full-fledged literary movement that developed in the U.S.
It was made up of a group of authors who wrote and published between about 1820 and 1860, when the U.S. was still finding its feet as a new nation.
American vs. British Romanticism
American Romanticism developed later than British Romanticism and had a stronger emphasis on

Due to America's democratic government when compared to Britain's monarchical government, American Romanticism embodied more
ideals than that of British Romanticism.
Humanitarianism - the promotion of human welfare.

Reformation - the action or process of reforming an institution or practice.

Egalitarian - relating to or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.
The Must-Knows of American Romanticism

(1) The Novel
The big, bad novel is a very important part of the American Romantic movement.
Which is notable because, back in Europe (where Romanticism got going in the first place) the movement was all about poetry.
Maybe American Romantics liked the novel because it was bigger… just like their frontier?
(2) Formal Experimentation
Roses are red/ violets are blue/ form is important/ but not as important as expressing individuality. Take that, you fusty old Europeans.

Whether we're talking about poetry or prose, the American Romantics liked to experiment with form.

Given that these were writers who were big on individualism, is it any wonder that they broke many literary conventions?
(3) Symbolism

The American Romantics are really clever at using symbols to allude to truths or knowledge that exist beyond rationality.

Some of the greatest symbols in American literature were given to us by the Romantics.

(4) Nature
It's a big theme in American and British Romanticism.

In fact, an obsession with trees, flowers, fields, and sunsets is one of the things that makes Romanticism (whether of the American or British variety) Romanticism.

And we have to admit that America is a really crazily beautiful country.

t's not you; it's me, me, me
. Individualism is the quintessential American value.
Is it any wonder that it's central to American Romantic literature?
American Romantic writers are nonconformists.
They want us to follow our own minds and to do our own thing, no matter how much pressure is put on us to conform.
(6) Emotion

Heartbreak, happiness, awe, and rage: these emotions (and all emotions) are very important in American Romantic literature.

That's because the writers of this literature believed that emotions shape our experience and our knowledge of the world.
Emotions are central to our identity.

So excuse us while we go cry about that for a little while.

Our minds have an amazing capacity to make things up, like stories and pictures… although we could never in a million years have come up with the bison. (Yes, we're obsessed with this bizarre-looking animal.)

For the American Romantics, the imagination is so important because it allows us to express our own individuality.

It also allows us to access experiences and knowledge beyond our "rational" minds.
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