How Romantic are you? True or false? • When making big decisions, I believe it’s best to go with your gut. • I love it when I’m free to use my imagination and express creativity. • I believe that children are actually wiser than adults. • Nature is a place of inspiration for me. • I like to spend a lot of time alone.
Introduction • Partly as a reaction against rationalism, Romanticism had its beginnings in Germany, then spread throughout Europe and to the United States. • “Romanticism is the name given to schools of thought that value feeling and intuition over reason.” --Elements of Literature p. 215
Historical Context • 1803 Louisiana Purchase • 1812-15 War of 1812, “Star-Spangled Banner” written • 1820-21 Missouri Compromise • 1830 Underground Railroad is organized • 1838 Trail of Tears • 1846 Potato famine in Ireland • 1846-48 U.S. annexes Texas; war with Mexico • 1848 First women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls • 1849 California gold rush
Worldview • 5 Is of Romanticism • Intuition - Inspiration from nature • Imagination - Individualism • Innocence • Other characteristics: • Favored remote/exotic settings (the past, the countryside) • City perceived as a place of corruption • Emphasis on the natural and the supernatural worlds • Divinity found in nature “Life through rose-colored glasses”
Common Elements of the Literature • Poetry was valued as the greatest embodiment of the imagination. • Fireside Poets used traditional forms but introduced uniquely American subject matter. • Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson later departed from traditional forms of poetry. • American authors began developing novels. • American novelists sought to produce literature that was uniquely American. • The frontier gave America subject matter that set it apart from Europe. • A new stereotype developed: the American Romantic hero. (Ex. Natty Bumppo, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, etc.)
Famous Authors • Fireside Poets: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell • William Cullen Bryant—“Thanatopsis” • James Fenimore Cooper—Leatherstocking tales • Washington Irving—“Rip Van Winkle,”“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” • Transcendentalists: Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau • Dark Romantics: Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe
Painting: Kindred Spirits by Asher Brown Duran • Features William Cullen Bryant and Thomas Cole
Tenets of Transcendentalism • Everything is a reflection of the Divine Soul. • Nature is a doorway to the spiritual world. • Man should be true to himself rather than blindly submitting to external authority. • Human nature is essentially good (optimistic view).
Ralph Waldo Emerson • Born in 1803 in Boston • Went to Harvard at the age of 14 and graduated in 1821 • Became a minister, like the eight generations of Emersons before him • Questioned the doctrines of his religion and left the ministry to pursue a career in writing and public speaking
Ralph Waldo Emerson • Considered the leader of the Transcendentalist movement • Emphasized trust in oneself and the experience of reality through intuition • Became a popular writer and lecturer, as his ideas were well received by intellectuals and the general public
Dark Romanticism Background • Authors: Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville • These authors transformed the European Gothic novel • Development of the short story as a trend in American fiction
Dark Romanticism Background • Characteristics of Gothic Fiction • Use of haunting, eerie settings and strange, chilling events • Romantic interest in intuition, imagination, and hidden truths • Reaction against the optimism of the Transcendentalists • Exploration of evil and the irrational depths of the human mind
“The Fall of the House of Usher” • About the Author: Edgar Allan Poe • Abandoned by father; mother died when he was 2 years old • Taken in by John and Frances Allan • John Allan was disappointed in Poe—his literary ambition and rejection of business life • Left for college, got into debt, quarreled with John Allan • Pursued literary career without much success • Entered West Point Academy but had himself dismissed to devote his career to writing • Moved in with his aunt, Maria Poe Clemm
Yes, he married his cousin Virginia. She was 13. • Virginia died of tuberculosis. • Mysterious death— found on the brink of death in Baltimore tavern
“The Raven”Summary • The speaker is reading in his chamber when he hears a tapping. • He opens his chamber door and sees no one. • He opens the window, and a raven flies in and perches on a bust of Pallas Athena. • He asks the raven its name. The response in “Nevermore.” The speaker, fascinated, wheels his chair in front of the raven.
“The Raven” Summary(continued) • He asks questions about his sorrow and his beloved, eventually asking if he will see his love Lenore again. The response is always “Nevermore.” • The speaker orders the raven to leave, but the raven remains perched above the chamber door.