AMERICAN ROMANTICISM (1830-1870)
ECONOMY AND SOCIETY:
IDEOLOGY AND CULTURE:
The first decades of the 19th century marked the emergence of truly American literature.
Literature was still derived from British literary tradition, but began to depict American society and explore the American landscape.
| American Romanticism |
The individual valued over the group;
The subjective valued over the objective;
The personal experience valued over reason;
The wilderness of nature valued over human-made order;
Support for human rights;
Elements of the supernatural;
Reaction against the negative effects of industrialization (commercialism, hectic pace, lack of conscience).
Importance of nature and man’s relationship with it;
The human psyche is observed in different manifestations.
| Transcendentalism |
A sub-genre of Romanticism that developed from Romantic principles but integrated neo-classical views.
|Dark Romanticism |
A sub-genre of Romanticism that developed as a reaction against the light feeling of transcendentalist writing and emphasized the dark and the macabre.
Transcendent feeling (the reader is transported away from the world).
– believed that man, nature, and God are interconnected;
– had a close relationship with nature;
– celebrated imagination and emotions;
– encouraged spiritual well-being over financial well-being.
– Nature is divine and a universal organic mediator;
– Humans possess divinity and wisdom.
|Literary themes: |
– Fear of death
– Paranoia from guilt/remorse
Use of Gothic elements:
– Grotesque characters;
– Violent events.
The bizarre imagination is the place where the fantastic, the demonic, and the insane meet.
Nature is dark and eerie;
The human being is prone to sin and self-destruction.
American Romanticism being so diverse, many 19th century writers develop original approaches that combine several literary directions.