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American Literature

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  1. American Literature Lecture 4

  2. Objectives Enable the Ss to know the background, representative writers and their works of the Romantic period in American literary history; Enablethe Ss to appreciate Hawthorne’s style by a close reading of “The Minister’s Black Veil” Enable the Ss to know how to appreciate poems by analyzing Edgar Allan Poe’s “Annabel Lee” from the perspective of form and theme etc.

  3. Teaching Materials Hawthorne “The Minister’s Black Veil” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “A Psalm of Life” Edgar Allan Poe “Annabel Lee”

  4. Teaching Methodology Lecturing Text-analysis

  5. Leading writers • Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) • Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

  6. Manifesto • In 1836 the publication of Nature by Emerson pushed American Romanticism into a new phase, the phase of New England Transcendentalism. • Nature is regarded as the Bible of New England Transcendentalism. • It says in the book:

  7. “The Universe is composed of Nature and the Soul.” • “Spirit is present everywhere.”

  8. About Transcendentalism • Club: Transcendentalist Club • Transcendentalist journal: The Dial • Sources: ---German Idealism, ---German Transcendentalism ---American Puritanism.

  9. Definition by Emerson • “What is probably called Transcendentalism among us is idealism; idealism as appears in 1842.” • Transcendental: • Whatever belongs to the class of intuitive (直觉的) thought

  10. Main Ideas (Features) of N.E.T. • 1. placing emphasis on spirit, or the Oversoul, as the most important thing in the universe --- a new way of looking at the world • 2. stressing the importance of the individual. --- a new way of looking at man • 3. offering a fresh perception of nature as symbolic of Spirit or God

  11. New England Transcendentalism was, in actuality, Romanticism in Puritan soil.

  12. Ralph Waldo Emerson The American Scholar---Intellectual Declaration of Independence Nature ---the Bible of New England Transcendentalism

  13. Emerson’s aesthetics brought about a revolution in American literature in general and in American poetry in particular. • It marked the birth of true American poetry and true American poets such as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. • He embodied a new nation’s desire and struggle to assert its own identity in its formative period.

  14. Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862) • A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers • Walden---a prophet of individualism in American literature

  15. He was one of the three great American authors of the last century who had no contemporary readers and yet became great in this century. • Herman Melville • Emily Dickinson.

  16. Herman Melville (1819-1891) His life represents: one of the greatest tragedies in the North American literary history, one of the greatest losses to American literature, one of the most disgraceful episodes of critical stupidity in the United States

  17. Works 1. Redburn 1849 2. Typee 1846 3. Omoo 1874 4. Moby Dick 1851 5. Mardi 1849 6. White Jacket 1850 7. Pierre 1852 8. Billy Budd 1924

  18. Themes of Moby Dick • 1. Search for truth The story deals with the human pursuit of truth and the meaning of existence. 2. Conflict between Good and Evil. 3. Conflict between Man and Nature. 4. Isolation between man and man; man and nature; man and society. 5. Solipsism.

  19. Symbols • 1) The Pequod The Pequod is a symbol of doom. It is painted a gloomy black and covered in whale teeth and bones, literally bristling with the mementos of violent death. It is, in fact, marked for death. Adorned like a primitive coffin, the Pequod becomes one. )

  20. 2) Moby Dick Moby Dick possesses various symbolic meanings for various individuals. 1) Symbol of nature for human beings, because it is mysterious, powerful, unknown. 2) Symbol of evil for the Captain Ahab. 3) Symbol of good and purity because of its whiteness.

  21. 3) Voyage of the Pequod Symbol of the pursuit of ideals, adventure, and the hunt in the vast wilderness. 4) Ahab Symbol of solipsism, revenge and then evil. 5) Sea Symbol of vastness, loneliness, and isolation.

  22. Evaluation • Moby Dick is, critics have agreed, one of the world’s greatest masterpieces. To get to know the 19th century American mind and America itself, one has to read this book. • One of the classics of American Literature and even world literature.

  23. Moby Dick is an encyclopedia of everything, history, philosophy, religion, etc. in addition to a detailed account of the operations of the whaling industry.

  24. 6. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)

  25. Works Collectionsof short stories 《故事重述》 • Twice-Told Tales 1837 • Mosses from an Old Manse 1843 • The Scarlet Letter 1850 《古宅青苔》 《红字》

  26. 《七个尖角阁的房子》 • The House of the Seven Gables 1851 • The Blithedale Romance 1852 • The Marble Faun 1860 《福谷传奇》 《大理石雕像》

  27. 《好小伙儿布朗》 • “Young Goodman Brown” • “The Minister’s Black Veil” • “Dr. Rappacini’s Daughter” 《拉普齐尼博士的女儿》 《教长的黑面纱》

  28. Life • Hawthorne was born in Salem Massachusetts. • Some of his ancestors were men of prominence (突出)in the Puritan theocracy of seventeenth-century New England. One of them was a colonial magistrate, notorious for his part in the persecution of the Quakers, and another was a judge at the Salem Witchcraft Trial in 1692.

  29. When Nathaniel was four, his father died on a voyage in Surinam, Dutch Guinea, but maternal (母系的)relatives recognized his literary talent and financed his education at Bowdoin College. • Among his classmates were many of the important literary and political figures of the day: writer Horatio Bridge, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and future President Franklin Pierce. These prominent friends supplied Hawthorne with government employment in the lean times, allowing him time to bloom as an author.

  30. Like James Fenimore Cooper, Hawthorne was extremely concerned with conventionality传统; his first pseudonymously published short stories imitated Sir Walter Scott, as did his 1828 self-published Fanshawe. • Hawthorne later formally withdrew most of this early work, discounting it as the work of inexperienced youth. From 1836 to 1844 the Boston-centered Transcendentalist movement, led by Ralph Waldo Emerson, was an important force in New England intellectual circles.

  31. Hawthorne's fiancée Sophia Peabody drew him into "the newness," and in 1841 Hawthorne invested $1500 in the Brook Farm Utopian Community, leaving disillusioned within a year. • His later works show some Transcendentalist influence, including a belief in individual choice and consequence, and an emphasis on symbolism. • As America's first true psychological novel, The Scarlet Letter would convey these ideals; contrasting puritan morality with passion and individualism.

  32. Influences on Hawthorne • Salem - early childhood, later work at the Custom House. • Puritan family background - one of his forefathers was Judge Hathorne, who presided over the Salem witchcraft trials, 1692. • Belief in the existence of the devil. • Belief in determinism.

  33. Major Themes in Hawthorne's Fiction • Alienation (疏远)- a character is in a state of isolation because of self-cause, or societal cause, or a combination of both. • Initiation(创始) - involves the attempts of an alienated character to get rid of his isolated condition. • Problem of Guilt -a character's sense of guilt forced by the puritanical heritage or by society; also guilt vs. innocence.

  34. Pride - Hawthorne treats pride as evil. He illustrates the following aspects of pride in various characters: physical pride (Robin), spiritual pride (Goodman Brown, Ethan Brand), and intellectual pride (Rappaccini). • Puritan New England - used as a background and setting in many tales. • Italian background - especially in The Marble Faun. • Allegory (寓言)- Hawthorne‘s writing is allegorical, didactic(说教) and moralistic.(道德说教的)

  35. Other themes include: individual vs. society, self-fulfillment vs. frustration, hypocrisy vs. integrity, love vs. hate, exploitation (利用,剥削)vs. hurting, fate vs. free will.

  36. setting themes Idea Feature technique Puritan New England Evil & sin “black vision” toward human beings Ambiguity symbolism Features of his works

  37. Hester Chillingworth Dimmesdale Pearl Sin evil The Scarlet Letter Adultery Ability Angel

  38. The Scarlet Letter represents the height of Hawthorne‘s literary genius; dense with terse (用词简练的)descriptions. It remains relevant for its philosophical and psychological depth, and continues to be read as a classic tale on a universal theme (secret sin).

  39. The Minister’s Black Veil Questions to answer: 1. What happened at the morning service? What was the effect of the black veil upon the villagers? What was the suject of the sermon?

  40. 1. Key: Mr. Hooper wore a black veil. The second Paragraph in P302. The 16th line in Paragraph 3 in P302.

  41. 2. What happened in the afternoon? Do you think Mr. Hooper had anything to do with the young maiden’s death?Why or why not?

  42. 2. Key: In Paragraph 1 in P304.

  43. 3. What happened on that night?

  44. 3. Key: In the last Paragraph in P304 and 1st Paragraph in P305.

  45. 4. What happened the next day?

  46. 4. Key: In the second Paragraph in P305 and 1st Paragraph in P306. The villagers were talking about the black veil. They sent deputation to talk with Mr. Hooper.

  47. 5. What cause did Mr. Hooper give Elizabeth not to take off the black veil?

  48. 5. Key: In the second Paragraph from thebottom in P307 and 2nd Paragraph in P308.

  49. 6. What happened at the death-bed of Mr. Hooper?

  50. 6. Key: In the 1st Paragraph in P311 and the sixth Paragraph in P312