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American_Romanticism by xiuliliaofz



• Takes place from roughly 1830-1860
• Authors venerate Nature, a place where the Self can
  fulfill its potential
• Romantics are usually socially egalitarian and
  politically progressive (Poe being an exception)
• Use symbols, myths, fantastic elements (Walden
  Pond, White Whale, House of Usher) as the focus of
  the protagonist’s mental processes or to convey
  deeper psychological or archetypal themes.
• Style is often unconventional / does not follow
  established rules, but language is formal
• Characters and setting set apart from society
• Static characters
• Universe is mysterious, irrational, incomprehensible
• Good receive justice; nature can punish or reward
• Universal truths (as opposed to learned ones)
• Plot arranged around crises
• Plot demonstrates: romantic love, honor and integrity,
  idealism of self
• Supernatural foreshadowing
• Description provides a “feeling” of the scene
• Obsession with and celebration of individualism
• Belief in the natural goodness of man, that
  civilization corrupts
• Delight in self-analysis
• Nature as a source of instruction, delight, and
  nourishment for soul
• Aspiration for the sublime and wonderful, over the
• Interest in the “antique”: medieval tales, ballads,
  Norse and Celtic mythology, the Gothic
• Belief in the perfectibility of man
• Celebrates
   –   imagination and intuition
   –   spontaneity
   –   subjectivity and emotion
   –   individualism and introspection
   –   self-reliance
   –   nature and solitude
   –   beauty and the ideal
   –   revolution
   –   democracy
   –   the outcast or other / the “noble savage”
• Revolts against reason, rationality, control, monarchy,
conformity, etc.
•   Reasonable and Practical    •   Emotional
•   Public Responsibility       •   Individualistic
•   Conservative                •   Revolutionary
•   Love of Public/Urban Life   •   Love of Solitude/Nature
•   External Reality            •   Introspection
•   The Universal               •   The Particular
•   Objective Science           •   Subjective Perception
•   Desire Repressed            •   Satisfaction of Desire
•   Mechanical                  •   Organic
•   Mundane                     •   Exotic
•   Bourgeois Family            •   “Noble Savage”/Outcast
•   Materialist/Empirical       •   Idealist Philosophy
AMERICAN GOTHIC: a.k.a. “Dark Romanticism”

Supernatural, tortured psychological
Grotesque, bizarre, “uncanny” (something that
seems familiar and yet foreign simultaneously,
resulting in an uncomfortable feeling)
    man is prone to sin and self-destruction
    does not inherently possess divinity and wisdom
    evil appears in the forms of Satan, devils,
   ghosts, vampires, ghouls.
    Often shows man failing in the attempt to better
    Nature is a deeply sinister and spiritual force
        dark, decaying, and mysterious
        when it reveals the truth to man it is evil and

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