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Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism (The Dark Romantics), and American Gothic

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Denise Abbe

on 6 November 2012

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Transcript of Transcendentalism, Anti-Transcendentalism (The Dark Romantics), and American Gothic

Transcendentalism,
Anti-Transcendentalism
(The Dark Romantics),
and American Gothic What does Transcendentalism
mean? By meditation, by communing with nature, through work and art, one may TRANSCEND, or go beyond, his senses and attain an understanding of beauty and goodness and truth. Characteristics of Transcendentalism Everything in the world, including human beings, is a reflection of the Divine Soul.
The physical facts of the natural world are a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world which hold important truths.
The spark of divinity lies within man.
People can use their intuition to behold God's spirit revealed in nature or their own souls.
Spontaneous feelings and intuition are superior to deliberate intellectualism and rationality. Most well-known Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
-New England experiencing a period/movement of
self-improvement
-Goals of this movement: training teachers,
establishing museums, and instituting social
reforms.
-Emerson provided a series of lectures on self-
improvement. Emerson's utopian group became
known as "The Transcendental Club." Sidekick (2nd most famous) Henry David Thoreau most famous work: WALDEN
details Thoreaus' experiences over the course of two years in a cabin he built near Walden Pond, amidst woodland owned by his friend and mentor, Emerson, near Concord, Massachusetts.
hoped to isolate himself from society to gain a more objective understanding of it.
simple living and self-sufficiency were Thoreau's other goals, inspired by the transcendentalist philosophy. Thoreau's cabin Walden Pond at sunset Anti-Transcendentalists
aka
The Dark Romantics Characteristics like Transcendentalists, valued intuition over reason, saw signs and symbols in events, believed spiritual facts transcend physical appearances
unlike Transcendentalism, their view of the world LACKED OPTIMISM
saw a DARK SIDE to human existence and recorded this aspect of human nature in their works
works explored conflict between GOOD AND EVIL, psychological effects of GUILT AND SIN, and MADNESS and DERANGEMENT in the human psyche
They truly saw the BLACKNESS and the HORROR of evil within humanity. (back to Puritans, anyone?) and then ... there's Poe 1809-1849 1803-1882 1817-1862 1804-1864 1819-1891 Although often considered a Dark Romantic, Poe can be viewed more as a Gothic writer. Poe’s works strongly represent Gothic elements more so than valuing
intuition over reason or examining the natural world for God and spiritual truths. Gothic Literature Settings include large, drafty old houses that have "been in the family for years." 
Atmosphere is one of mystery and suspense.
Contains a ghostly legend, an unexplainable occurrence, or a story about a horrible death or murder.
Omens, foreshadowing, and dreams usually play a large role in the mysterious air that is created within the story. Include highly charged emotional states like:  terror, a feeling that one is on the brink of insanity, anger, agitation, an exaggerated feeling of some impending doom, and obsessive love.
Supernatural events:  ghosts, doors that open themselves, unexplained sounds, etc.
Damsels in distress are frequent.  Women who are frightened and confused, wandering around lost, or dying due to a slow and unexplainable ailment. Words designed to evoke images of gloom and doom: dark, foreboding, forbidding, ghostly, etc.
Romantic themes often involve the death of a man or woman in the throes of some great passion, the obsessive nature of a man or woman in love, or excessive grief one feels upon the loss of a loved one. The Masque of
the Red Death
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