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American Romanticism 1800- 1860 Objectives • Recognize similarities & differences in Puritans & Transcendentalists • Encounter non-fiction works & biographical information: Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau • Understand the philosophy of Transcendentalism • Create your own Transcendental Society • View & respond to film, The Dead Poets Society
Americans looked to untamed nature as inspiration for a uniquely American art. Cole was a leader of this new American landscape painting. In this painting of the Adirondack Mountains, Cole erases all signs of white settlement, & depicts a Native American as the lone inhabitant. Indian Pass (1847) By Thomas Cole Examine the Thomas Cole painting. What attitudes towards nature are suggested by this painting?
The Romantic Sensibility:Celebrating Imagination The Romantics valued… • imagination • individual feelings • Nature over… • reason • logic • cultivation • Poetry ~ the highest embodiment of the imagination
Romantic Escapism: From Dull Realities to Higher Truths Romantics sought a higher truth by: • searching for exotic settings as in the supernatural realm or in old legends and folklore • reflecting on the natural world until dull reality fell away to reveal underlying truth & beauty gaining insight from an ordinary object in nature
Characteristics of American Romanticism • Intuition • Imagination • Innocence • Inspiration from nature • Inner experience
Emerson & Transcendentalists:TheAmericanRoots Emerson’s thought process was Intuitive, in contrast with Ben Franklin’s Rational approach to thinking.
The American Novel &the Wilderness Experience The development of the American novel coincided with… Westward expansion Growth of national spirit Rapid spread of cities
James Fenimore Cooper Created the first American hero… named Natty Bumpo, also known as… Hawkeye Deerslayer Leatherstocking
American Fiction Heroes Characteristics • Young • Innocent • Intuitive • Loves nature • Quest for higher truth Current day examples • Lone Ranger • Luke Skywalker • Superman • Indiana Jones
American Romantic Poetry: Read at Every Fireside Romantic poets used Typically English • Themes • Meter • Imagery Fireside Poets… • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • John Greenleaf Whittier • Oliver Wendell Holmes • Russell Lowell
In reference to Walt Whitman…Emerson said, “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.”
Transcendentalist:True Reality is Spiritual The leader of the Transcendentalist was Massachusetts writer and lecturer… Ralph Waldo Emerson Transcendental refers to the idea that in determining the… • ultimate reality of God • the universe • the self • other important manners… One must transcend, or go beyond, everyday human experience in the physical world
Dark Romantics Includes authors such as… • Nathaniel Hawthorne • Herman Melville • Edgar Allan Poe Values in common w/ Transcendentalists: • Intuition over reasoning • Saw signs & symbols in events In contrast, they did not believe that nature is necessarily good or harmless They explored: • Conflict between good & evil • Psychological effects of guilt & sin • And madness
Born in Boston, Massachusetts From a cultured, but poor family His father died of TB when Ralph was only 8 years old His mother & aunt raised the family of 6 children Emerson entered Harvard at the age of 14 Ralph Waldo Emerson:The Early Years
Following an eight year tradition, Emerson became a minister. Being an independent thinker, he felt uncomfortable being a church leader. So…in 1832 he left the ministry and headed for… Burden of Expectation…
Europe While abroad, Emerson befriended many famous writers. Such as the Romantic Poets… William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Transcendentalism In the words of Emerson… “The Transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light & power; he believes in inspiration and ecstasy.
“The American Scholar” In 1837, Emerson gave a speech to students at Harvard. He demanded that American scholars free themselves from the shackles of the past. “Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to the learning of other lands, draws to a close.”
“Divinity-School Address” Emerson’s second speech to Harvard students called for a rejection of institutional religion in favor of a personal relation with God. It outraged authorities…not until 3 decades later did Emerson speak again at Harvard.
Emerson on Politics In spite of being involved in Concord politics, Emerson was a reluctant participant. From the first he had believed that the slaves should be freed. But he avoided the radical societies that were promoting abolition. As slavery clamored Emerson, against his instincts, actively associated himself with the abolitionist cause. He contributed to the cause beyond his means. One of his children once wrote in a school essay, “no house should be built without having in it a space to hide a runaway slave.
Henry David Thoreau • Born in Concord, MA in 1817 • Father was a pencil manufacturer • Mother took in boarders (among them Emerson’s sister-in-law) • Entered Harvard in 1833 • Thoreau and his brother opened a private school in 1839 that lasted only 2 years, however they developed a new educational practice: field trips – for nature study! • He had several loves, but never married and never traveled far from Concord. • He died of tuberculosis at the age of 44
Thoreau on Writing… • “Essentially, your truest poetic sentence is as free and lawless as a lamb’s bleat. The grammarian is often one who can neither cry nor laugh, yet thinks that he can express human emotions. • Referring to some rules for speaking & writing he said: ”Any fool can make a rule And every fool will mind it.” • ‘Success is due to blend of style & content.’ • He looked to nature as a model for life.
The Rebel Independent and eccentric, he refused to wear black to chapel – he choose a green coat instead Protested against the Mexican War by refusing to pay the poll tax - spent the night in jail. Wrote “Resistance to Civil Government” which inspired passive resistance which was later used by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Thoreau…on dying • 1860 Thoreau caught a cold – turned out to be Tuberculosis, which was deadly then • He faced his coming death with great calm • “Henry, have you made your peace with God?” his aunt asked him toward the end. “Why , Aunt,” he replied, “I didn’t know we had ever quarreled.”
Imagery… • The use of language to evoke a picture or a concrete sensation of a person, a thing, a place, or an experience. Images appeal to one or more of the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. • As we read from Nature, look for examples of images that appeal to the senses.
Birds of Walden tanager sparrow veery whippoorwill thrush
Figures of SpeechWords or phrases that describes somethingin terms of another and are not meant literally. • Simile: comparison between 2 unlike things, using words such as like, than, as Example: She was as sharp as a tack. • Metaphor: a comparison between 2 unlike things in which 1 is said to be another Example: He was a tiger in the ring. • Personification: object or animal is given human thoughts or feelings. Example: The purse cried out, “BUY ME!” • Symbol: person, place, thing, or event that has meaning in itself & that also stands for something more than itself. Example: pink ribbon is a symbol for breast cancer awareness Your task: Find examples of each in the text.
Nature 1- A person goes where to be alone? 2- Truly seeing nature is child-like because . . . 3- Which part of a farm can not be owned? 4- Emerson’s meaning of “nature.” 5- Feelings while crossing the “bare common” 6- Nature wears the colors of..? 7- Why does Emerson call himself a transparent eyeball? 8- Purpose of this essay?? 9- Emerson finds this in the woods. 10- Emerson’s attitude toward society 11- Use of Imagery in Nature 12- At least 5 new words
Journal Entry You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. and you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go. Dr. Seuss