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Transcript of American Romanticism
1800-1860 God is awesome, but he hates you. Goodbye, you crazy Rationalists! Romanticism, here I come! Wrong kind of romance! James Fenimore Cooper
1789-1851 Jimmy Cooper is considered the father of the Romantic hero (the precursor to today's action hero!) He explored uniquely American characters and settings. Cooper created the first American heroic literary figure - Natty Bumppo! NB was a heroic, virtuous, and skillful frontiersman. He had a simple morality, a love of nature, and a distrust of town life. He also had almost superhuman resourcefullness. A white man raised by Mohawk Indians, NB exemplified the simple purity of Native American life in contrast to the cold cruelty of Western Civilization. You live in this state! Get to de choppa! American Romantic authors are divided into three groups. The Fireside Poets The Transcendentalists The Dark Romantics Romantic poets sought to prove sophistication by working with traditional European poetic literary traditions, rather than creating a unique American voice. They used American settings and subjects, but European themes, meter, and imagery. They were called Fireside or Schoolroom poets because their poetry was often read in family or school settings. Felt that to understand God, the universe, and the self, one must go beyond, or “transcend,” everyday human experience. They believed that true reality was found in ideas, not in experiences perceived through the senses. They sought the permanent reality that underlies physical experience - something they termed the Divine Soul. They were idealisits who believed in human perfectability and worked toward this goal. Henry David Thoreau Ralph Waldo Emerson Were “dark” both in tone and subject matter. Believed strongly in the supernatural – that there was another world just beyond our own senses. Were not as optimistic as other Romantics. They dealt with the darker side of humanity. Believed in the power of the imagination to affect the world around us. Herman Melville Washington Irving Edgar Allan Poe Nathaniel Hawthorne Gothic Literature Poe, in particular, used Gothic elements in his writing. 5 Elements of Gothic Literature Victim is helpless against his attacker. Victimizer associated with evil and possessing supernatural powers. At some point, the story takes place within impenetrable walls. Attempt to create an atmosphere like a crypt. Victim is fascinated by the victimizer’s powers. American Literature