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American Literature– Chapter One American Romanticism

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  1. American Literature– Chapter OneAmerican Romanticism • Objectives: • social and personal background • focus: • To let the students understand something the romantic period writers (Irving, Hawthorn, Longfellow, Allan Poe, Emerson, Thoreau). • the difficult points: • American transcendentalism and Free Verse

  2. introduction American Romanticism spanned three decades from 1830 to 1865. it was the period between the “second revolution” of the Jacksonian Era and the close of the Civil War in America in the first half of the 19th century, a tremendous change in American’s political life was the development of Jacksonian democracy. In literature it was America’s first great creative period, a full flowering of the romantic impulse on American soil.

  3. Matching the emerging political and economical development of the nation, native American writers won increasing national and international fame. • Washington Irving’sSketch Book became the first work by American writer and by the 1830s Irving was judged the nation’s greatest writer; James Fenimore Cooper, father of American novelists created a mythical west that transcended the reality of life on the frontier. Nathaniel Hawthorne in his short stories and his four novels created a fiction that began in allegory but grew to a complex form of Romantic symbolism.

  4. Herman Melvill wrote personal narratives of his experiences in remote places and in his masterpiece Moby-Dick produced a work of great energy and theme. • The poetry of the period was predominantly romantic in spirit and form. Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, a powerful epic of the self in strongly cadenced free verse embodies the individualism, the love of freedom and the striving for personal expression that are of the base of Romanticism. • In the essay and on the lecture platform the new England transcendentalists– Emerson, Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and Alott- carried the literary expression of Philosophical and religious ideas to a high level.

  5. Some influential writers • Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804--1864) • Herman Melville (1819--1891) • Edgar Allan Poe • Ralph Waldo Emerson(1803-1882) • Henry David Thoreau (1817--1862) • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • Walt Whitman(1819-1892)

  6. Influential writers– Nathaniel Hawthorn • Main works: • Twice-Told Tales • Mosses from an Old Manse • The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales • The Scarlet Letter • The House of the Seven Gables • The Blithedale Romance • The Marble Faun • Young Goodman Brown

  7. Hawthorne’s extraordinary literary craftsmanship. As a man of literary craftsmanship, Hawthorne is extraordinary. • The structure and the form of his writing s are always carefully worked out to cater for the thematic concern. • Hawthorne is also a great allegorist. • Hawthorne is a master of symbolism, which he took from the puritan tradition and bequeathed to American literature in a revivified form.

  8. Hawthorne’s artistic features: • 1. form: he chose romance as his novel form. • 2. his tone: serious, ironic, humorous. • 3. his words or diction: old Anglo-Saxon language sentences with many long paraphrases. • 4. Rhetoric Devices: exaggeration, irony and symbolism. • 5. Plot: omniscient(全知的), third-person.

  9. Herman Melville (1819-1891) born into a well-to-do family • Main works: • Moby-Dick • Billy Budd • Typee • Omoo • Mardi • White Jacket • Redburn • Pierre • Bartleby, the Scrivener • Bentito Cereno • The Confidence-Man

  10. His achievements Symbolism is not the only way in which Melville has articulated, shaped, and presented the mighty theme of the book, Melville’s great gifts of language, invention, psychological analysis.

  11. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) • One of the most popular American authors. • The Fall of the House of Usher, a story in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, first collection of 25 stories , published in two volumes in 1839. • The Raven, first published in 1845, was an immediate success and has remained one of Poe’s enduring works. • Poe is the poet and short story writer. To the modern age he stands as one of the foremost writers of America, and he is now, nearly a century and a half after his death, one of the most popular authors in the world.

  12. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) • Speaking of American Romanticism, we can never ignore New England Transcendentalism, which is unanimously agreed to be the summit of the Romantic period in the history of American literature. And the chief spokesman of this spiritual movement is Emerson. • Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Emerson formed a club known as the Transcendental Club, and the unofficial manifesto for the club was Nature. .

  13. Emerson is generally known as an essayist. • Emerson is the most representative of the philosophical and literary school which is American Transcendentalism and it inspired in his lifetime a whole generation of famous authors like Thoreau.

  14. Emerson’s Transcendentalist idea and his view of nature His Transcendentalist idea 1. actually a philosophical school that absorbed some ideological concerns of American Puritanism and European Romanticism. 2. Focus on the intuitive knowledge of human beings to grasp the absolute in the universe and the divinity of man; 3. Religion based on an intuitive belief in an ultimate unity, Oversoul;

  15. Emerson’s view of nature: 1. Nature is emblematic 象征性的of the spiritual world, alive with God’s overwhelming presence; 2. Nature exercises a healthy and restorative influence on human mind.

  16. Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862) • A prose stylist and transcendentalist, won his place in American literature by adventuring at home– traveling, as he put it, a good deal in Concord. • He published two books and some essays during his life time. The majority of Thoreau’s works was published after his death.

  17. Thoreau believed that most men, in their frantic pursuit of the means for living, had lost sight of the true ends of life. In the matter of literary style, two points concerning Thoreau’s cultural heritage have to be kept in mind. One is his attitude to nature that is obviously quasi准的-religious and the other is the Christian terms and symbols that carried great emotional power.

  18. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

  19. life • Longfellow was born at Portland, Maine on February 22, 1807, he was brought up in an atmosphere of cultivated blood breeding. More immediately significant to him, was the actual contact with a romantic past that contrasted appealingly for him, with the apparent barrenness of his own country. • His success in teaching was rewarded with the appointment as the Smith professor of modern languages at Harvard. • The closing years of his life were satisfying. His 75th birthday was celebrated nation-wide. Longfellow died on March 24, 1882, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  20. works • 1845, the Poets and Poetry of Europe • 1839, Voices of the Night, a prose romance based on his second journey abroad. • 1841, Ballads and Other Poems • 1842, Poems on Slavery • 1843, the Spanish Student, a poetic drama. Evangeline, his narrative poem. • 1845, The Belfry of Burgues • 1849, Kavanagh, a semi-autobiographical prose • 1855, Hiawatha, based on American Indian legends. • 1858, the courtship of Miles Standish • 1863, Tales of a Wayside Inn. • 1879, The Gross of Snow.

  21. Point of view: • 1. the milder aspects of the romantic movement. Strongly influenced by the German romantic lyrist. • 2. cultural ambassador: transplant to American literature some of the colored and melody and romantic charm of the complex European literature, he had studied. • 3. consistently high-minded, high-moral, sublime(崇高的) but conventional, untouched by the religions and social struggles except interest in anti-slavery.

  22. Artistic features • From: mainly regular lyrics, narratives. • Tone: earnest, optimistic, enthusiastic. • Words: simple but graceful, polished, common, poetic. • Rhetorical device: comparison, metaphor, symbol. • General impression: gentleness, sweetness, purity.

  23. Longfellow’s advice for living. • His optimism which has characterized much of his poetry, also endeared many critics to him. He seemed to have persevered despite tragedy. In his poem, “the Psalm of Life”, he writes: Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal!. This is the cry of the heart, “rallying from depression”, ready to affirm life, to regroup from losses, to push on despite momentary defeat.

  24. Walt Whitman(1819-1892) • born into a working-class family • Main works:Leave of Grass (it is always been considered a monumental work which commands great attention because of its uniquely poetic embodiment of American democratic ideals as written in the founding documents of both the Revolutionary War in the United States and the Civil War, and the author of the book is a giant of American letters.) • Songs of Myself • Drum Taps

  25. Whitman's poetic style {artistic features} 1. The use of the poetic "I." • To dramatize the nature of these new poetical feelings, Whitman employed brand-new means in his poetry, which would first be discerned in his style and language.

  26. 2. The form of his poetry—free verse • Whitman is also radically innovative in terms of the form of his poetry. What he prefers for his new subject and new poetic feelings is "free verse,"

  27. 3. The rhythm of his poetry. • However, there is still a strong sense of the poems being rhythmical. • So when we read his poems, we can feel the rhythm of Whitman's thought and cadences of his feeling. Parallelism and phonetic recurrence at the beginning of the lines also contribute to the musicality of his poems.

  28. 4. His language • Contrary to the rhetoric of traditional poetry, Whitman's is relatively simple and even rather crude. Most of the pictures he painted with words are honest, undistorted images of different aspects of America of the day.

  29. Some terms • Transcendentalism: it is the most clearly defined Romantic literary movement in the Romantic Period of American literature. It was started by a group of people who were members of an informal club– the transcendental Club in New England in the 1830s. It was from the very beginning a local phenomenon restricted only to those people living in New England, who carried out the movement as a reaction against the cold, rigid 僵直的,教条的rationalism of Unitarianism上帝一位论 in Boston. Gradually its influence began to spread all over the country, especially among the intellectual and the literary men of the USA.

  30. Free verse it is a form of poetry. It means that the poetry is without a fixed beat or regular rhyme. A looser and more open-ended syntactical structure is frequently favored. Lines and sentences of different structure are left lying side by side just as things are, undisturbed and separate.

  31. Some exercises

  32. Some exercises • 1. The Romantic Period in American literature started from the publication of Washington Irving‘s __A____ and ended with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. • A. The Sketch Book B. Tales of a Traveller • C. A History of New York D. The Scarlet Letter • 2. At the middle of 19th century, America witnessed a cultural flowering which is called “__C___”。 • A. the English Renaissance B. the Second Renaissance • C. the American Renaissance D. the Salem Renaissance • 3. As a philosophical and literary movement, the main issues involved in the debate of Transcendentalism are generally concerning ______A. • A. nature , man and the universe • B. the relationship between man and woman • C. the development of Romanticism in American literature • D. the cold, rigid rationalism of Unitarianism • 4. In the history of American literature, __C____ is usually agreed to be the summit of the American Romanticism. • A. the Harlem Renaissance B. England Transcendentalism • C. New England Transcendentalism D. New Transcendentalism

  33. 5. About the novel The Scarlet Letter,which of the following statements is not right: D • A. It‘s very hard to say that it is a love story or a story of sin. • B. It‘s a highly symbolic story and the author is a master of symbolism. • C. It‘s mainly about the moral, emotional and psychological effects of the sin upon the main characters and the people in general. • D. In it the letter A takes the same symbolic meaning throughout the novel. • 6. The great sea adventure story Moby-Dick is usually considered___A___. • A. a symbolic voyage of the mind in quest of the truth and knowledge of the universe. • B. an adventurous exploration into man‘s relationship with nature • C. a simple whaling tale or sea adventure • D. a symbolic voyage of the mind in quest of the artistic truth and beauty • 7. In his poems, Walt Whitman is innovative in the terms of the form of his poetry,which is called “____A__.” • A. free verse B. blank verse • C. alliteration D. end rhyming

  34. 8. After the Civil War America was transformed from __A____ to ____ • __. • A. an agrarian community … an industrialized and commercialized society • B. an agrarian community … a society of freedom and equality • C. a poor and backward society … an industrialized and commercialized society • D. an industrialized and commercialized society … a highly developed society • 9. Which of the following is said of the American Naturalism?D • A. They preferred to have their own region and people at the forefront of the stories. • B. Their characteristic setting is usually an isolated town. • C. Humans should be united because they had to adapt themselves to changing harsh environment. • D. Their characters were conceived more or less complex combinations of inherited attributes, their habits conditioned by social and economic forces.

  35. Some exercises • A:1 Graham Greene 2. Iris Murdoch 3. Aldous Huxley • 4. John Fowles5. Kingsley Amis6. Washington Irving • 7. James Fenimore Cooper 8. Edgar Allan Poe9. Henry David Thoreau • 10. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • B. a. Under the Net b. Brave New World • c. The Power and the Glory d. The French Lieutenant’s Woman e.“The Raven” f. The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon g. the Leather-Stocking Tales h. Walden i. “The Song of Hiawatha” j. Luck Jim 1—5 c d b d j 6-10 f g e h i

  36. Why did Hawthorn choose romance as his novel form? • He chose romance as his novel form, because he intended to discuss the latent evil in man’s heart, thus he has to get to the truth of the individual psychology. To him, this is more important than the actual truth and the overt 公开的reality. To show the truth of the individual psychology, he has to go back to puritanical period– the original sin. Romance gives him the freedom, to move away from the novelistic realism, to create a certain atmosphere, to help to show the truth of heart (sth. Not clearly show very emotional and symbolic. The atmosphere that he created is the shadow– a middle place between actual and imagery, where both history and reality can meet, so he can change actual event with his imagination, in order to reach analyzing psychology truth.)