American Romanticism: Introduction

American Romanticism: Introduction

AMERICAN ROMANTICISM: INTRODUCTION (1800-1860) The Age of Reason or The Enlightenment Founded on Deism Logic Inalienable rights Albert Bierstadt It also brought Industrialization, growth

of cities, and factories American expansion (Lewis and Clark and Manifest Destiny) More encounters with Native Americans ROMANTICISM: THE

MOVEMENT Question: What comes to mind or what do you associate with the term Romanticism? Romanticism: a reaction to the Age of Reason Age of Reason

Romanticism Realism Patrician Classicism Dominion over the Native American Logic, always facts to counter fear and doubt Idealism/Utopia

Glorification of the common man Recognition of the nobility of the primitive Imagination to engender faith and hope

Romanticism Characteristics: The predominance of imagination over reason and formal rules Primitivism Love of nature An interest in the past Mysticism Individualism

Idealization of rural life Enthusiasm for the wild, irregular, or grotesque in nature Enthusiasm for the uncivilized or natural Characteristics The Five Is

Imagination Intuition Idealism

Inspiration Individuality The City was a Place of . . . The Rationalists saw the city as a place of industry, success, self realization, and civilization. The Romantics saw the city as a place of poor work conditions, moral ambiguity, corruption,

and death. The Journey Romanticism was often seen as a journey. The journey from the city to the country The journey from rational thought to the imagination

The Fireside Poets The Most Popular American Poets of Their Time John Greenleaf Whittier, William Cullen Bryant, James Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes Their poems were often read aloud at the fireside as family entertainment. It is poetry that seeks a higher truth from the natural world. Literature

Folktales, regional writer Washington Irving The Noble Savage James Fennimore Cooper American Novelists looked to westward expansion and the frontier for inspiration. The Arts Romanticism was a movement across

all the arts: visual art, music, and literature. All of the arts embraced themes prevalent in the Middle Ages: chivalry, courtly love. Shakespeare came back into vogue.

Visual Arts: Examples Romantic Art Neoclassical Art Thomas Cole, The Falls

of Kaaterskill (1826) Thomas Cole, The Oxbow (View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm, 1836) Asher Durand, Kindred Spirits (1848) Frederic Edwin

Church, The Natural Bridge (1852) Alfred Bierstadt, Emigrants Crossing the Plains (1867) Alfred Bierstadt, Looking Up the Yosemite Valley (ca. 1865-67) The Gothic Tradition What is Gothic?

Originally named for the German goths. Renaissance usage Architecture, focus on the medieval, death, decay

17th-18th century novel The Gothic Novel Themes/motifs: Castles, darkness, madness secrets, ghosts, mystery, haunted houses The Characters (stock characters): tyrants, villains,

bandits, maniacs, Byronic heroes, persecuted maidens, femmes fatales, madwomen, magicians, vampires, werewolves, monsters, demons, revenants, ghosts, perambulating skeletons, the Wandering Jew and the Devil himself. Supernatural/Gothic Literary Motifs

A motif is a repeated theme, image, or literary device. Look for these common supernatural/Gothic motifs in the works we will read Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif: Forbidden Knowledge or Power/ Faust Motif:

Forbidden knowledge/power is often the Gothic protagonists goal. The Gothic "hero" questions the universes ambiguous nature and tries to comprehend and control those supernatural powers that mortals cannot understand. He tries to overcome human limitations and make himself into a "god." This ambition usually leads to the heros "fall" or destruction; however, Gothic tales of ambition sometimes paradoxically evoke our admiration because they picture individuals with the courage to defy fate and cosmic forces in an attempt to transcend the mundane to the

eternal and sublime. Dreams/Visions: Terrible truths are often revealed to characters through dreams or visions. The hidden knowledge of the universe and of human nature emerges through dreams because, when the person sleeps, reason sleeps, and the supernatural, unreasonable world can break through. Dreams in Gothic literature express the dark, unconscious depths of the psyche that are

repressed by reason truths that are too terrible to be comprehended by the conscious mind. Signs/Omens: Reveal the intervention of cosmic forces and often represent psychological or spiritual conflict

(e.g., flashes of lightning and violent storms might parallel some turmoil within a characters mind). Examples of the Gothic Novel

Mary Shelleys Frankenstein Gaston Lerouxs The Phantom of the Opera Bram Stokers Dracula Many works by Edgar Allen Poe * Nathanial Hawthorne Poe and Hawthorne as pioneers in the American Gothic Tradition The Southern Gothic

Subgenre to the Gothic Supernatural, ironic, unusual events guide the plot. Focus on the American South

Characteristics of the Southern Gothic The Southern Gothic author usually avoids perpetuating Antebellum stereotypes like the contented slave, the demure Southern belle, the chivalrous gentleman, or the righteous Christian preacher. Instead, the writer takes classic Gothic archetypes, such as the damsel in distress or the heroic knight, and portrays them in a more modern and realistic manner transforming them into, for example, a spiteful and reclusive

spinster, or a white-suited, fan-brandishing lawyer with ulterior motives. The Grotesque In fiction, a character is usually considered a grotesque if he induces both empathy and disgust. (A character who inspires disgust alone is simply a villain or

a monster.) Obvious examples would include the physically deformed and the mentally deficient, but people with cringeworthy social traits are also included. The reader becomes piqued by the grotesque's positive side, and continues reading to see if the character can conquer his darker side. Example: Victor Hugos The Hunchback of Notre Dame Examples of Southern Gothic

Writers William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Harry Crews, Lee Smith, Lewis Nordan, Barry Hannah, Carson McCullers, Erskine Caldwell, Eudora Welty, Harper Lee (To Kill a Mokingbird), Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams (A Street Car Named Desire), and Cormac McCarthy OConnor and the Southern

Gothic Tradition Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Whenever I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one" ("Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction," 1960). In her often-anthologized short-story " A Good Man Is Hard To Find," the Misfit, a serial killer, is clearly a maimed soul, utterly callous to human life but driven to seek the truth. The less obvious grotesque is the polite, doting

grandmother who is unaware of her own astonishing selfishness Washington Irving Born at the end of the Revolutionary War on April 3, 1783

Considered the first professional man of letters in the United States In 1809 A History Of New York, about imaginary 'Dietrich Knickerbocker' Lived for 17 years in Europe

Returned and lived with brothers family in Tarrytown New York. Died before the Civil war in 1859 Engaged to Matilda

Hoffman who died at the age of 17 before they were married. Never had any children. John Quidor 1801-1881

Romantic artist known for his illustrations of Washington Irvings stories. Romantic art/literature: Stylized Symbolic Sentimental

Sylvan (nature) The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane Other Works Rip Van Winkle

The Devil and Tom Walker Visual Representations of the Gothic

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