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American Romanticism. Early 1800’s to 1850. Before we look at what Romanticism IS, we have to think about what it IS NOT!. Despite the name of the literary period, Romanticism does not deal with sappy love stories.

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American romanticism l.jpg

American Romanticism

Early 1800’s to 1850


Before we look at what romanticism is we have to think about what it is not l.jpg
Before we look at what Romanticism IS, we have to think about what it IS NOT!

  • Despite the name of the literary period, Romanticism does not deal with sappy love stories.

THIS IS NOT THE KIND OF LITERATURE THAT WE ARE GOING TO STUDY. THIS IS THE KIND OF BOOK YOUR GRANDMA READS AT THE BEACH!


So what is romanticism l.jpg
So what IS Romanticism? about what it IS NOT!

  • Romanticism is the name for the literary period that followed the Age of Reason in America.

  • Due to the fact that the country was now established, writers moved their focus away from political matters and revolutionary governmental ideas, and began to focus on other aspects of life (emotions, possibilities, imagination etc…)


Types of lit prevalent in romanticism l.jpg
Types of lit. prevalent in Romanticism… about what it IS NOT!

  • Short stories

  • Romances (book length stories that differ slightly from novels)

  • Poetry

  • Essays


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Elements of Romanticism about what it IS NOT!

  • 1. Frontier: vast expanse, freedom, no geographic limitations.

  • 2. Optimism: greater than in Europe because of the presence of frontier.

  • 3. Experimentation: in science, in institutions.

  • 4. Mingling of races: immigrants in large numbers arrive to the US.

  • 5. Growth of industrialization: polarization of north and south; north becomes industrialized, south remains agricultural.


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Romantic Subject Matter about what it IS NOT!

  • 1. The quest for beauty: non-didactic, "pure beauty."

  • 2. The use of the far-away and non-normal - antique and fanciful:

    • a Characterization and mood: grotesque, gothicism, sense of terror, fear; use of the odd and strange.

  • 3. Escapism - from American problems.

  • 4. Interest in external nature - for itself, for beauty:

    • a. Nature as source for the knowledge of the primitive.

    • b. Nature as refuge.

    • c. Nature as revelation of God to the individual.


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Romantic Attitudes about what it IS NOT!

  • 1. Appeals to imagination; use of the "willing suspension of disbelief."

  • 2. Stress on intuition, emotion, and imagination rather than reason; optimism, geniality.

  • 3. Subjectivity: in form and meaning.


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With your partner: about what it IS NOT!(2 minutes)

  • ANSWER THE FOLLOWING:

  • What kind of beauty did the Romantics seek to understand and portray? (subject matter slide)

  • What is the most important Romantic attitude?


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Romantic Techniques about what it IS NOT!

  • 1. Remoteness of settings in time and space.

  • 2. Improbable plots.

  • 3. Inadequate or unlikely characterization.

  • 4. Authorial subjectivity.

  • 5. Socially "harmful morality;" a world of "lies."

  • 6. Organic principle in writing: form rises out of content, non-formal.


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Representative writers about what it IS NOT!

  • William Cullen Bryant

  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  • DARK ROMANTICS

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • Herman Melville

  • Edgar Allan Poe


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Representative works: about what it IS NOT!

  • Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter, “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Minister’s Black Veil.”

  • Melville: Moby Dick, “Billy Budd.”

  • Irving: “The Devil and Tom Walker”

  • Poe: “The Pit and the Pendulum” and many others…

  • Bryant “Thanatopsis”

  • Longfellow “Song of Life”


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BIG PICTURE. about what it IS NOT!

  • Romantic VIEW OF MAN: Focus on the individual and his inner world (imagination and emotions).


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BIG PICTURE about what it IS NOT!

  • Romantic VIEW OF NATURE: Nature is beautiful, mysterious, and symbolic. God can be seen in nature.


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BIG PICTURE about what it IS NOT!

  • Romantic GUIDE TO TRUTH: Intuition (inner voice or gut feeling) and imagination guides each individual to understanding.


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Ticket out the door. about what it IS NOT!

  • Name three Romantic writers (from the list you just copied.)

  • Give the ROMANTIC VIEW OF MAN.

  • Give the ROMANTIC VIEW OF NATURE.

  • Give the ROMANTIC GUIDE TO TRUTH.


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