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Romanticism, Transcendentalism, American Gothic

Romanticism, Transcendentalism, American Gothic

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Romanticism, Transcendentalism, American Gothic

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  1. Romanticism, Transcendentalism, American Gothic American 1800-1855

  2. What was happening? Manifest destiny • It’s our destiny to have everything between here and Pacific • Mexican-American War Industrial Revolution • Must produce more Slavery • Increase in territory means more slave states Social reform • Human rights! (Race, Gender) Nationalism • National interests before regional • Sectionalism began between North and South

  3. Writers reactions • War was wrong • Negatives sides of industrialization • Commercialism, hectic pace, lack of conscience • Prominent abolitionists and women’s rights supporters. • Development of American accent

  4. Romanticism Began in 18th century Europe • Looked to nature • Celebrated emotion and imagination • Reacting to the strict doctrines of Puritanism • Pro rationality of the Age of Reason • Modern sensibilities of the day • Aimed to capture energy and character of growing country

  5. Saw limits of reason and instead celebrated the glories of the individual spirit, the emotions, and the imagination as basic elements of human nature • Splendors of nature inspired more than fear of God. • Fascination with supernatural

  6. Fireside Poets Branch of Romanticism • Morally uplifting and romantically engaging • Name from the family custom of sitting around the fire and reading together. • Committed to using poetry for social reform • Abolition, women’s rights, improve facotry conditions, temperance • The common person Poetry on par with British counterparts for the first time.

  7. American Gothic aka Brooding Romantics or Anti-Transcendentalists Complex philosophy, filled with dark currents and a deep awareness of the human capacity for evil • Probed inner life of their characters • Examined complex and mysterious forces behind human nature Emphasis on emotion, nature, the individual, the unusual

  8. Once romanticism freed the mind from reason, imagination was followed wherever it might go • Led to the threshold of the unknown • Shadowy region where the fantastic, demonic, and insane reside • Human psychology from the inside • Effects of sin and guilt • Madness • Good vs evil • How struggle for material gain affects the individual

  9. Transcendentalism A philosophical and literary movement that emphasized living a simple life and celebrating the truth found in nature and in personal emotion and imagination • Pride in emerging culture • Stressed American ideas of optimism, freedom, self-reliance • Immanuel Kant • Transcendent forms of knowledge that exist beyond reason and experience People are inherently good and should follow their own beliefs no matter how different from the norm

  10. Targeted and criticized Puritan heritage • Puritan emphasis on material prosperity and rigid obedience to societal laws • Criticized commercial/financial America • Stressed spiritual well-being, achieved through intellectual activity and a close relationship to nature Optimism faded in the face of slavery

  11. Romanticism today • Thoreau called for Americans to practice civil disobedience. • Civil Rights movement • Poe influenced King and Rice, graphic novels • Romantic hero • Unique, bold, sometimes brooding and eccentric • Larger than life, unforgettable