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American Romanticism

Published on Nov 19, 2015

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American Romanticism

1800 - 1860

By the beginning of the 19th century America forged its independence, but not their own identity.

A new generation of writers called the American Romantics and Transcendentalists took the first steps in that direction.

IWBAT Analyze works of American Literature representing a wide range of traditions.

Photo by Jim Surkamp

EQ 1

What were the values of the Romantics and how did these affect American imagination?

EQ 2

Who were the TRANSCENDENTALISTS and how do their beliefs influence American life?

EQ 3

What darker side of human life was recognized by some American Romantics?


Untitled Slide

  • 1798 English (England) Romantics emerge
  • 1803 Westward! Louisiana Purchase
  • 1814 British burn Washington D.C. during War of 1812
  • 1814 National Anthem Written
  • 1841 Emmerson Writes "Self Reliance"

Untitled Slide

  • 1838 Trail of Tears
  • 1845 Edgar Allen Poe publishes "The Raven"
  • 1849 Gold Rush
  • 1850 Hawthorne writes The Scarlet Letter
Photo by Monceau

Name given to the school of thought that values feeling over reason.

Characteristics of American Romanticism

  • Began in Germany
  • Reaction to rationalism
  • Imagination, feelings, and wild nature over logic
  • Shuns artificial civilization for unspoiled nature
  • Individual freedom and worth of the individual

Characteristics of American Romanticism

  • Places faith in inner experience and power of imagination
  • Prefers youthful innocence
  • Poetry is highest form of expression
  • Look backwards to wisdom of past distrusts progress
  • Inspiration in myth, legend, and folklore

Typical Romantic Poem

Speaker finds ordinary object (flower by a stream) bringing deep insight recorded into a poem.

Photo by Paul-W

Similar to Puritans who drew lessons through religion, whereas, Romantics found a less clear religion in nature to a more emotional awakening.
Puritans were the rationalists that Romantics swayed from.

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."

- E.A. Poe

Photo by kevin dooley

Whats does Poe mean by distinguishing "they who dream by day" from "those who dream by night"?

Photo by e_monk