What is Romanticism? • Began late 1700’s, lasted till mid 19th century • Spanned across and affected many continents • Individualism, natural world(Industrial Revolution), nationalism (American and French Revolutions), Idealism • Never really died out • Not limited to literature
Walt Whitman • Born 1819 in Brooklyn • Very important poet of the Romantic era • Optimism from sketchy childhood (9 kids) • Close ties to the Civil War
Individualism • Whitman acknowledges he is not perfect, but accepts and loves himself for who he is. (Optimism) • “The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here—that life exists, and identity; That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.” -O Me! O Life!
Nature • a great inspiration for the Romantic era • Often seen as a work of art itself • Was a refuge away from the artificial constructs of civilization • “Spontaneous me, Nature, The loving day, the mounting sun, the friend I am happy with, The arm of my friend hanging idly over my shoulder, The hill-side whiten’d with blossoms of the mountain ash, The same, late in autumn—the hues of red, yellow, drab, purple, and light and dark green, The rich coverlid of the grass—animals and birds—the private untrimm’d bank— the primitive apples—the pebble-stones,” –Spontaneous Me
Nationalism (Political) • Brother in the war, spent years in D.C. • Death of Lincoln outraged and inspired him • ''O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.'' -O Captain! My Captain!
Idealism • Seeing the underlying goodness, beauty, and promise in the world and allowing it to affect your mood and feelings • Optimism repeated, overall theme • “How beautiful and perfect are the animals! How perfect the earth, and the minutest thing upon it! What is called good is perfect, and what is called bad is just as perfect, The vegetables and minerals are all perfect, and the imponderable fluids are perfect;” – To Think of Time
Sources • A+E Television Networks, LLC. (1996). Walt Whitman. biography. Retrieved December 4, 2012, from bio. true story.: http://www.biography.com/people/walt-whitman-9530126 • Academy of American Poets. (1997). A Brief Guide to Romanticism. Retrieved December 4, 2012, from Poets.org: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5670 • Academy of American Poets. (1997). Walt Whitman. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from Poets.org: http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/126 • Wisdom Commons. (2012). Idealism. Retrieved December 5, 2012, from Wisdom Commons: http://www.wisdomcommons.org/virtue/69-idealism/meditations