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Exploring American Literature between 1620 and 1850
Transcript of Exploring American Literature between 1620 and 1850
Age of Reason
Romanticism/ Gothicism • Why:
Escape pressure from Church of England
• Use of the Bible vs. use of church rituals (all religious guidelines are backed up by scripture)
• Pre-destination: idea that God is already planned who is saved and who is damned
Northeast settlers who arrived in PlymouthoFirst British colonists that were planning on forming a permanent society (unlike southern colonies)
Society laws are linked with church law (no separation between church and state)
Some form of democracy (every church member can vote)
Ruled by themselves (little connection to England) • Authors/ People of the Time
• Leader of pilgrims
• Founded Plymouth plantation in 1620
• “Of Plymouth Plantation”
• Literary work
• Detailed the founding of Plymouth colony and colonist’s lives from 1621-1626 Colonial Age
- American colonies are under British rule
Puritans in North
came to America to escape Church of England
Church at the center of society, no separation of church and state
Use of Bible vs. Use of Church Rituals, all religious guidelines are backed up by scripture
Predestination - idea that God has already planned who is saved and who is damned Examples Romanticism and Gothic Writing Who? Washington Irving
Edgar Allan Poe
James Fenimore Cooper
Emily Dickenson Colonial Society:
Northeast settlers who arrived in Plymouth
First British colonists that were planning on forming a permanent society (unlike southern colonies)
Some form of democracy (every church member can vote)
Ruled by themselves (little connection to England) The Age of Reason 1710-1850 A movement that came to America from Europe. Notable forerunners of the Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment period, were Voltaire, Isaac Newton, and John Locke. What was the Age of Reason? The Age of Reason's school of thought stood in contrast to Puritan culture and beliefs. Enlightenment thinkers were more concerned with worldly and natural affairs rather than religious piety. What does this have to do with the American Revolution? Everything! Government that serves the people, not the other way around.
The iconic American belief in all men being equal. Thinkers and writers of the Enlightenment provided various new and unconventional perspectives on religion, government, and society. Stressed the importance of logical thought and equality. Some Writers from the Age of Reason Benjamin Franklin
J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur
Alexis de Toqueville
Ralph Waldo Emerson What About After the Revolution? Authors of the period begin to reflect on and ask: What exactly does it mean to be an American? Because the USA lacked a distinct ethnicity and language to set them apart from European countries, many struggled to define America. The widespread popularity of Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense helped spread the ideas of the Enlightenment throughout the colonies. Garnering support for the American cause. Equality begins to apply to people other than landed, white men. More attention was paid to social issues. Especially those regarding women and blacks. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe Letter From An American Farmer by J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur. "The Great Lawsuit" by Margaret Fuller Three main focuses of the Enlightenment were equality, liberty, and fraternity. Washington Irving Let's focus on the "Big Three"... leading figure in the founding of the Massachusetts bay colony
Led first large migration
governor for 12 of colony's first 20 years
Was opposed to the development of written law for the colony's rulers to abide by
believed authoritarian rule was best John Winthrop Edgar Allan Poe Nathanial Hawthorne Thomas Paine's Book, Common Sense Ideas of Enlightenment WHAT WAS IT? Romanticism
a response to the Age of Reason
emotion is more important than logic and reason
natural world is beautiful and inspiring
5 I's: Intuition, Individualism, Inspiration, Idealism, Imagination
Gothic writing (spawned from Romanticism)
a subset of Romanticism.
good vs. evil
fear of the frontier (what actually lies beyond?)
fear of the lasting effects of puritan society. Revolution Inspiration Colonial Society Revoulution! Equality Enlightenment Thomas Paine's Pamphlet, Common Sense Born as Anne Dudley, daughter of Thomas Dudley, later the senator of Massachusetts Bay Colony
Husband is Simon Bradstreet, also a governor of the colony
Husband and Father instrumental in the foundation of Harvard
Given honor of America's first published poet
poem Upon the Burning of Our House July 10th, displays Puritans strong faith in God
She wrote many poems in her life, with a main focus on Religion Anne Bradstreet Verses from Upon the Burning of Our House And when I could no longer look,
I blest His grace that gave and took,
That laid my goods now in the dust.
Yea, so it was, and so 'twas just.
It was his own; it was not mine.
Far be it that I should repine." Mary Rowlandson Captured by Native Americans during King Phillips War
Wrote a book documenting her captivity
The Sovereignty and Goodness of God: Being a Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson
shows theme of faith in good, like Anne Bradstreet
Was first American bestseller Founded the Province of Pennsylvania, and later the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
Founded it with the idea of separation of Church
Developed Pennsylvania's "Frame of Government" colonial constitution, big inspiration for democratic government and the US constitution
Also a strong supporter of joining the colonies in a Union William Penn WHERE? While there WAS Romanticism in England, We're going to study the AMERICAN counterpart. Things that define American Romantism as "American" (vs. English):
the desire to distinguish America from Britain after its independence, Individualism.
the issue of slavery, and tensions that arise between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery movements (Civil War) Washington Irving Famous for:
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820)
Rip Van WInkle (1819) addressed darker and more complex themes of historical transformation and personal dislocation.
considered one of the inventors of the modern short story.
inspired works of Hawthorne and Longfellow Edgar Allan Poe Famous for:
"The Tell Tale Heart" (1843) wrote lots of poetry, detective stories, and tales of terror and the supernatural.
orphaned as a child, raised by the Allan family in Richmond.
drinking, gambling, debt, probable mental issues.
drinking was a BIG problem for him - was a drunk his whole life, got kicked out of college and many jobs. Nathanial Hawthorne Famous for:
Scarlet Letter (1850)
“The Minister’s Black Veil” (1836) Born 1804 in MA, died 1864.
inspired by Washington Irving
known for prose, depictions of New England history, psychological acuity and vivid characterizations
used deliberate ambiguity and imposed a single moral on a story; withheld interpretation WHEN? From 1800 - 1850 SO WHAT? It directly contradicted the Age of Reason, by saying that emotion was more important than intellect, focusing more on the individual.
This individualistic style of thinking reflected the American desire to distinguish themselves from Britain.
With slavery haunting the U.S. in the 1850s, conflict began to arise between the South (pro-slavery) and the North (anti-slavery) Gothic writing helped some of these tensions come to light, and foreshadowed the devastating Civil War. Bibliography Norton Anthology of American Literature, 7th ed.
American Literary Timeline What then is the American, this new man? He is either an European, or the descendant of an European, hence that strange mixture of blood, which you will find in no other country. I could point out to you a family whose grandfather was an Englishman, whose wife was Dutch, whose son married a French woman, and whose present four sons have now four wives of different nations. He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds. -Letter III: "What is an American?" Excerpt From Letter From A Farmer The Enlightenment's thinkers from the time of the American Revolution were off to a good start, but they missed a few spots.
Many people in America still did not have the rights enjoyed by some. (Blacks, women, non-property owners...) Equality, huh? Benjamin Franklin There is no better person that better represents all the aspects of the early Age of Reason in America.
Franklin acquainted himself with several languages and became the editor of a newspaper in his early twenties. Not only was he a brilliant writer, but he also took great interest in science. A vital component of the Enlightenment.
He was also played a large role in the drafting of the Declaration of Independence. Important Work: Autobiography Thomas Jefferson Drafted the Declaration of Independence. Placed high value on education of the American population. Figure that best personifies the flaws of the Age of Reason around the time of the Revolution. He wrote the words "All men are created equal" yet still held slaves.