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The First Harvest 1800-1840

The First Harvest 1800-1840

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The First Harvest 1800-1840

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  1. The First Harvest1800-1840 The Romantic Period

  2. Characteristics of Romantic Period • Interest in American past • Emphasis on Nature • Concentration on the inner world of human nature

  3. Emergence of new spirit of Nationalism • Political reasons---American Revolution and 2nd war with England (1812) • Pres. Jackson warned before he left the Presidency (1837) that internal divisions were the greatest threat to America {Slavery} • Economic reasons---Eli Whitney’s cotton gin; Slater’s textile mill; Louisiana Purchase; desire of most to own land

  4. Cultural reasons---After independence, there was a call for national literature that would express the values and ideals of the new nation • Most American writers grew up with English literature. They then adapted these literary forms and applied them to their own American experiences • American culture not established over night…took a long time to evolve into its own materials, themes, and attitudes

  5. Classicism to Romanticism • Intellectual movement most immediately apparent in literature • Classic literature of 18th century gave way to 19th century romantic literature

  6. Elements of Classicism (1700s) • Reason is dominating characteristic of nature and human nature • Reason more important than imagination, which had to be restrained by common sense • Nature and human nature are governed by unchanging laws and can be rationally understood • Literature clear and ordered; illustrates common values and rational law of human existence • Literature upholds tradition • Social factors more important than personal • Common good over the individual good

  7. Elements of Romanticism (1800s) • Emphasized emotions, intuition, and inner perception of truth • Reason is not the sure guide to truth • Key to the inner world is imagination, which gives expression to one’s intuition • All art is the imaginative expression of the inner essence of an individual • Stressed human potential for social progress and spiritual growth • National literature; American themes and attitudes • Literature very much rooted in imagination, wilderness, or inner self (madness)

  8. Emerson asks… “Who can set bounds to the possibilities of man?”

  9. American Romanticism • Not so much a philosophy…rather a change in attitude • If all men are created equal, then naturally there would be a new emphasis on dignity and worth of man (social reform) • Humanitarian reform (ie: abolishing slavery)

  10. Common Themes for Romantic Writers • Nature • The Past • The Inner World of Human Nature

  11. Romantic Writers • Emphasized the beauty, strangeness, and mystery of nature • Constantly changing---as human nature changes, so do their views/perceptions of nature

  12. Major Writers • Washington Irving • James Fenimore Cooper • William Cullen Byrant • Edgar Allan Poe

  13. Washington Irving • Romantic tales of folklore, adapted from European legends, but set in American landscape and characterized by American stereotypes that reveals general truths about human nature

  14. Cooper • Uses actual events in American history as settings for his novels in which his characters define their personal values by their experiences in the lawless wilderness

  15. Bryant • Poetry reflects Romantic approach to life in that it conveys the belief that through imagination and intuition the individual can learn from Nature great moral and spiritual truths

  16. Poe • Romantic view of Nature and the inner self by depicting irrational characters in a grotesque reality • Nature’s greater truth = madness