“…I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Henry David Thoreau
Early Historical Milestones • Washington D.C. becomes the capital – 1800 • Thomas Jefferson negotiates the Louisiana Purchase – 1803 • Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die on July 4, 1826.
Latter Influences of Romanticism • Underground Railroad is formed 1830. • Brook Farm undertakes experiment in cooperative living 1841 – 1847. • Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas hold a series of seven debates.
Prior to 1830 The Frenchman Alexis deTocqueville wrote, “America has produced very few writers of distinction…[the literature of England] still darts its rays into the forests of the New World.”
By 1870 America had produced many “writers of distinction” : Washington Irving James Fennimore Cooper William Cullen Bryant Edgar Allan Poe Ralph Waldo Emerson Henry David Thoreau Nathaniel Hawthorne Herman Melville Emily Dickinson Walt Whitman
Romanticism vs. RationalismCelebrating the Imagination • Imagination is able to apprehend truths that the rational mind cannot reach. • The imagination, spontaneity, individual feelings, and wild nature are of greater value than logic, reason, planning, and cultivation.
A Romantic’s View of Life • Places faith in inner experience and the power of imagination • Shuns the artificiality of civilization and seeks unspoiled nature • Finds truth and beauty in exotic locales, the supernatural realm, and the inner world of the imagination. • Sees poetry as the highest expression of the imagination
As a Romantic writer, Edgar Allan Poe once called science a “vulture” with wings of “dull realities” preying on the hearts of poets.
Emerson Took Romanticism One Step Further to Transcendentalism (Period 1*)
© 2003-2004 clipart.com Ralph Waldo Emerson Emerson was the best-known Transcendentalist. He • was a highly influential writer, lecturer, and social reformer • lectured and wrote extensively on Transcendental ideas • was admired by and influenced other writers and artists, including Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman
A B C D 400 B.C. 0 1900 2000 1600 1700 1800 A. Idealism (Greece, 4th century B.C.)- Socrates/Plato B. Puritanism (North America, 17th century) C. Romanticism (Europe and North America, late 18th century through mid-19th century) D. Transcendentalism (North America, 19th century) The Roots of Transcendentalism
© 2003-2004 clipart.com Idealism Idealism was a philosophy explained by the Greek philosopher Plato in the 4th century B.C. Idealists believed that true reality could be found in ideas rather than in the physical world.
Idealism and Transcendentalism • Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson claimed that Transcendentalism was simply Idealism rediscovered and applied to the nineteenth-century world. • Transcendentalists shared Plato’s belief in an all-encompassing spiritual reality. • They applied Idealist ideas to human life, believing in human perfectibility and working to achieve that goal. • ******
As a Transcendentalist Emerson Taught: • Everything in the world, including humans, is a reflection of the Divine Oversoul “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.”
The physical facts of the natural world are a doorway to the spiritual or ideal world. “The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.”
People can use their intuition to behold God’s spirit revealed in nature or their own souls. “The eye is placed where one ray should fall, that it might testify of that particular ray. We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.”
Self-reliance and individualism must outweigh external authority and blind conformity to custom and tradition. The individual is more important than society. He must be self-reliant. “Trust Thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron sting.”
Spontaneous feelings and intuition are superior to deliberate intellectualism and rationality. “With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.”
Live every moment of one’s life with intensity. “To be great is to be misunderstood.”
Transcendentalism is not a religion, philosophy, or literary theory. Rather it is the view that the basic truths of the universe lie beyond the knowledge we obtain from our sense. This knowledge transcends or goes beyond what we hear or see or learn from books. It is through “intuition” that we come to “know” life.
H.W.-From“ Nature” Read Emerson’s 2 page essay entitled from “Nature” on page 190. Next, choose one quote that captivates Emerson’s beliefs. Then, visually depict the quote with an illustration, picture or collage. Be ready to discuss what your quote means to you in class. Include the typed quote and picture on the same page. (examples on next two slides)
Words from Emerson’s Nature “In the woods, too, a man casts off his years, as the snake his slough, and at what period soever of life is always a child.” “In the woods is perpetual youth.” “In the woods we return to reason and faith.”
“Standing on the bare ground – my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space – all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God.” Emerson Nature
“I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in the streets or villages. In tranquil landscape… man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature…Yet it is certain that the power to produce this delight does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both.”
The Dark Romantics • Dark Romantics are also known as Anti-Transcendentalist • Believed that there was both a good side and a bad side to human nature • They explored the psychological effects of guilt and sin, madness, derangement in the human psyche • They saw the blankness and the horror of evil. • They believed in mystical and melancholy occurrences.
Transcendentalists Dark Romantics Differences Between Transcendentalists and Dark Romantics Saw divine goodness and beauty beneath everyday reality Believed spiritual truths may be ugly or frightening Embraced the mystical and idealistic elements of Puritan thought Reintroduced the dark side of Puritan beliefs: the idea of Original Sin and the human potential for evil
Transcendentalists Dark Romantics Similarities Between Transcendentalists and Dark Romantics True reality is spiritual. Intuition is superior to logic or reason. Human events contain signs and symbols of spiritual truths.
The Dark Romantics Use vivid imagery mood atmosphere symbolism themes of: guilt shame insanity spiritual darkness
The Dark Romantics “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through the singularly dreary tract of country, and at length found myself, as the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.” Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”
Poe’s Single Effect Theory Poe uses Gothic details – to create a single effect, a mood or atmosphere, of dread and menace – building to one powerful, sinister, overwhelming effect on the reader.
Gothic Tale Definition: A style of literature style emphasizing the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate.
Characteristics of a Gothic Tale • gloomy and very strong architecture • bad, nasty, evil, controlling, dominating villain • Supernatural events occur • Omens or visions—often the story is based on a prophecy (and in more modern versions often contains one concerning society beyond the story) • evokes terror through the depiction of physical and, more often, psychological violence • explores the nightmares under the surface of the “civilized” mind and/or unusual psychological states
The Grotesque • From a literary standpoint, this term implies a mutation of the characters, plants and/or animals. This mutation transforms the normal features and/or behaviors into veritable extremes that are meant to be frightening and/or disturbingly comic.
Nathaniel Hawthorne “…Mr. Hooper had as ascended the stairs, and showed himself in the pulpit, face to face with his congregation, except the black veil. That mysterious emblem never once withdrawn… while he prayed, the veil lay heavily on his uplifted countenance. Did he seek to hide it from the dread Being whom he was addressing?” Hawthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil”