American Romantic Period 1830-65 -Romanticism -Movement in art, literature, and philosophy -Began in Europe in the late 18th century -A reaction, in part, against the Enlightenment -Characteristics of Romantic literature: -Archetypal characters -Extraordinary, sometimes supernatural events -Stylized settings -Thematic concern with the subconscious mind -Imparts an epic or poetic dimension to life -Historical Contexts - Industrialization -Transportation revolution: Construction of railroads, steamboats, canals -Growth of cities: By 1860, 20% of the American population lived in urban areas -Rise of manufacturing: Factories dominated the production of textiles by 1860 -Age of Reform -Abolitionism -Prominent anti-slavery writers and activists: William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina and Sarah Grimke, Lewis Tappan -Garrison?s paper, The Liberator, established 1831; urged immediate emancipation -Temperance movement -Grew out of Protestant evangelicalism -Prominent activist: Lyman Beecher -Women?s rights -Prominent activists: Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, the Grimke sisters -Seneca Falls Convention, 1848: ?Declaration of Sentiments? argued that ?all men and women are created equal,? pushed for women?s suffrage -Urban and social reform -Rising crime and poverty led to construction of many penitentiaries, asylums, and workhouses -Print Culture and Literary Marketplace -By 1850: over 1000 American newspapers, over 600 magazines -Periodicals provided many writers?including Poe and Hawthorne?with a forum for their work -Women?s writing enormously popular -Sentimental novels and didactic fiction (Examples: Susan Warner?s The Wide, Wide World ; Maria Cummins?s The Lamplighter ) -Women?s magazines (Most popular: Godey?s Lady?s Book) -Newspaper columns (Most popular columnist: Fanny Fern) Gothic Fiction - Literary Gothicism developed in England in the 18th century. - ?Gothic? first referred to medieval architecture, which, in the 18th century, was associated with the superstition and ?barbarism? of the pre-modern era. - Although many works of Gothic literature were popular in the 18th and 19th centuries, 20th-century critics sometimes maligned the form, associating it with the worst ?excesses? of Romanticism. -Settings -Removed from the reader?s general experience, either in locale or time (or both). -Exotic and/or ancient: medieval Europe, ruined castles and monasteries, deserted islands -Mood -Suspenseful -Claustrophobic -Grotesque -Themes and Motifs -The supernatural -Either ?truly? supernatural events, or events which suggest the supernatural but which can also be explained by natural phenomena. -The encroachment of the past upon the present -Psychological terror and cruelty - An interest in the emotional effects of fear, and in the emotional causes of cruelty. Conveys ambiguity regarding the nature of good and evil. -Authors and works -Hawthorne -?Young Goodman Brown? -?The Minister?s Black Veil? -?Rappaccini?s Daughter? -?The Birthmark: -Poe -?The Raven? -?Ligeia? -?The Purloined Letter? -?The Cask of Amontillado? The Slave Narrative -An autobiographical account written by a former slave. -Offering detailed, firsthand accounts of the brutality of slavery and dramatically depicting the writer?s eventual escape to freedom, slave narratives were central to the abolitionist movement. - Around 70 slave narratives were published in the United States before 1865 (including several published in the 18th century), although many more brief accounts were printed as part of longer works. -General characteristics of the antebellum slave narrative: -Almost always includes a preface written by a famous white writer or abolitionist, who attests to the black writer?s veracity and character -Centers around the writer?s quest for freedom and dramatically depicts his or her decision to escape -Climaxes with the writer?s attainment of freedom, after which the writer often describes a new life as an antislavery activist -Authors and works -Stowe -Uncle Tom?s Cabin -Jacobs -Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl -Douglass -Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass American Transcendentalism -Ralph Waldo Emerson was the leader of the ?Transcendental Club,? a group of writers and thinkers founded in 1836 and based in Boston and Concord, MA. -Transcendentalism was a philosophical and literary movement, though individual members developed their own definitions and body of beliefs. -Characteristics of Transcendental thought: -Optimistic -Emphasizes the divinity and goodness of the human spirit. -In his 1841 essay The Transcendentalist, Emerson writes that a Transcendental thinker ?believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy.? -Romantic - Emphasizes intuition and personal experience over logical reasoning and empiricism -Individualistic -Emphasizes self-reliance and nonconformity; man?s duty is to realize his full potential -Critical of contemporary society and institutions: -Transcendentalists opposed materialism, industrialization, racism, sexism -General Doctrines and Beliefs: -Spiritual unity of the world -Presence of spiritual truths?essentially, the meaning of the universe?in natural phenomena -The human soul is a microcosm, mirroring the world?s ?soul? (the divine spirit, or God, or what Emerson calls the ?Over-Soul?) -By following his own intuition and natural impulses, man can transcend the material state, converge with the divine spirit, and thus understand the meaning and beauty of the world -Influences -Unitarianism (belief in innate goodness of man, intellectualism) -German Philosophy (Kant), European Romanticism (Coleridge, Goethe), and Asian spiritual writing (Confucius, the Bhagavad-Gita) -Authors and works -Emerson -?Self-Reliance? -?Nature? -Thoreau -?Walden? -Melville -?Bartleby, the Scrivener? -?Billy Budd, Sailor? -Whitman -?Songs of Myself? Age of Enlightenment Romanticism Order, reason, and empirical evidence Personal experience, emotion, and imagination Truth in science Truth in nature Restraint Boundlessness?even excess Inspiration: Classical literature and art Inspiration: Folklore, myths, legends Social and civic duty Individualism and the self Optimism about social and civic progress Conflict between technology and nature
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