Part III. The Literature of Romanticism
1.Historical Introduction 2. Two stages pre-romanticism (1770s-1830) post-romanticism(1830-60,65-75) 3. Romanticism 4. Transcendentalism
/>1. Historical Introduction
? Foreign influence : Rise of Romanticism: appeared in Germany, France, England from the middle of the 18th century. Reaction against the prevailing neoclassical spirit and rationalism during the Age of Reason. (Neoclassicists had some fixed laws and rules for almost every genre of literature.) ? Domestic influence: ? Fast development of the new nation Stability, Prosperity, Freedom
Geographically, America expanded its frontier. Economically, it began the industrialization and urbanization. Politically, people enjoyed more freedom. Culturally, cultural business prospered. ? Literary Ideas: ? Romanticism and Transcendentalism
2. Two stages of Romanticism
A. pre-romanticism (1770s-1830) ---beginning stage of American literature Representatives: Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and William Cullen Bryant B. post-romanticism(1830-60,65-75) ---Flowering of American literature -----also called “the American Renaissance” Representatives: novelists: Hawthorne, Melville, Poe. essayists: Emerson, Thoreau poets: Whitman, Dickinson, etc.
---was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe and strengthened in reaction to the Industrial Revolution. In part, it was a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. ? Romantic era in the United States of America as the “American Renaissance”—is roughly the generation before the Civil War (c. 1830-1860, one generation after the Romantic era in Europe).
General features of Romanticism
? A. Stressing emotion rather than reason
? B. Stressing freedom and individuality ? C. Idealism rather than materialism ? D. Writing about nature, medieval legends and with supernatural elements
Features of American Romanticism ? A. Imitative and B. Independent A. Imitative ? English masters: Walter Scott: his border tales and Waverley romances ---creative impulses of American writers （such as James Fenimore Cooper) . His The Lady of the Lake , together with Byron’s oriental romances, helped toward —development of American Indian romance ---responsible for the romantic description of landscape in American Literature.
? The Gothic tradition and the cult of solitude and of gloom were from the writers like Mrs. Radcliffe, Hoffman, Thomson and the “graveyard” poets (Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”.) Robert Burns and Byron: --- the American imagination for lyric of love , passion and despair Wordsworth and Coleridge: --- the nation’s singing strength American romantic writing was some of them modeled on English and European works
? B. Independent a. peculiar American experience (landscape, pioneering to the West, Indian civilization, new nation's democracy and dreams) b. Puritan heritage [more moralizing, edifying (enlightening) rather than mere entertainment (careful about love and sex. example: Scarlet Letter)
Representatives in pre-romanticism
Washington Irving (1783-1895) ? Father of American Short Stories, the first American author of imaginative literature to achieve international distinction The Sketch Book: establish the tradition of American short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: share a typical American legendary and romantic elements
James Fenimore Cooper(1789-1851)
? ---he is universally recognized as the first American novelist, achieved his worldwide reputation through the publication of his five-volume "Leather-stocking Tales". ? He developed three kind of novels: ? 1. novels about revolutionary past. The Spy ? 2. sea novels: The Pilot 3. Novels about American frontier: The Leather-stocking Tales Thematic concerns in his novels are wildness vs. civilization, freedom vs. law, order vs. change, aristocratic vs. democrat, and natural rights vs. legal rights.
William Cullen Bryant(1794-1878)
? First American lyric poet of distinction ? Most famous poems: To a Waterfowl, Thanatopsis, (死亡随想），The Yellow Violet ? Theme: Eulogize nature, real life of American ? Translation works: Iliad(1870) and, Odeyssey(1871)
Edgar Allan Poe
? Poet, editor, critic, first writer of the detective story, writer of fiction, a pioneer in poetic and fictional techniques ,the first major American critic. ? Orphan—step father—University of Virginia— West Point—editor—overdrinking—death of his wife—poverty—mental problems——died of tuberculosis at 40 ? Major Works eminent in poetry, short story, and literary criticism
? 1. Poetry “The Raven”, “To Helen”, “Annabel Lee” ? 2. Short Story “The Fall of the House of Usher” / “Ligeia” “The Black Cat” / “The Cask of Amontillado” A Collection: Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque ? 3. Criticism The Poetic Principle The Philosophy of Composition
Poe’s Artistic theories
? Poe argued for the creation of beauty and intensity of emotion, against the didactic motive for literature. ? Poe felt that literature should have no social function or responsibility but should be an expression of the isolated artist. ? Poe thought that the artist should be concerned solely with beauty, of imagination. The real world is cruel, ugly and fast into decaying. The artist’s life is lonely, painful and hopeless. The only happiness arose out of the creation and contemplation of beauty. -----an advocate of art for art’s sake
? 1. Creating the beauty (of some strangeness) not of nature to block out the ugly real world he hates and fears ? 2. Intense Emotion ? 3. Melodious Sound
His Short Story
? 1. Thematic Concerns ? 1) The Gothic—Violence and Death The idea of a protagonist having a struggle with a terrible, surreal person or force is a metaphor for an individual’s struggle with repressed emotions or thoughts. ? Personifying the repressed idea or feeling gives strength to it and shows how one, if caught unaware, is overcome with the forbidden desire.
? 2) Disintegrated personality and the destruction force of man’s impulses or desires when repressed ? Most of the terror or violence result from abnormality of human minds. ? His heroes usually lives on an obsession, the fragments of the past. When this impulse fails to be satisfied, the blind force of the unconscious self may lead to violent behaviors on others or selfdestruction.
? 3) A Sense of Doom—Pessimistic Nihilism [‘naiilizm]虚无主义 ? Most of his heroes clearly sense the impending doom but cannot stop it themselves. ? This probably results from his personal agony as he had fits of mental depression from time to time, and even attempted suicide. ? When some critics ridiculed him for imitating the German Gothic terror, he replied “my terror is not from Germany but of the soul”
? 2. Style 1) Brevity All tales should be short enough to be read in one sitting ? 2) Unity of Effect or Atmosphere An author should make everything in the story help produce the one and single effect. The materials are constructed in a fashion which would hold the reader’s interest to the final sentence. ? 3) Striking Outcomes or Conclusion example: The Cask of Amontillado
The Cask of Amontillado ? Summary: ? The story is narrated by Montresor, who carries a feeling of resentment against Fortunato for an insult that is never explained. Montresor leads a drunken Fortunato through a series of chambers beneath his palazzo with the promise of a taste of Amontillado, a wine that Montresor has just purchased. When the two men reach the last underground chamber, Montresor chains Fortunato to the wall, builds a new wall to seal him in, and leaves him to die.
Background information: ? The carnival season. The carnival season in eighteenth- century Italy and France was the highlight of the year. Usually lasting a week or more, it was a time for parties, feasts, parades, and costumes. Disguised revelers at the carnival threw confetti五彩碎纸at the crowd, walked on stilts, ate fine foods, and drank plenty of wine. ? Catacombs and funeral rites. In eighteenthcentury In Palermo, Sicily, when someone died, his or her corpse would be walled up in underground tombs known as catacombs.地下 墓穴
? The Freemasons or Mason.共济会员 Founded in the Middle Ages as a guild(协会） for stone workers, the Masons or "Freemasons" became a powerful social force in eighteenth-century Europe. By mid-century, this former labor union had become a secret society of aristocrats and common people devoted to the ideals of free thought, rationality, and social betterment. Though secret, Most Masons did not hesitate to speak their minds, even if it meant challenging a higher power-or a friend.
? Revenge The Cask of Amontillado is a horror story of revenge. Montresor commits the horrible murder of Fortunato due to his powerful desire for revenge. The idea of revenge is repeated several times in the opening paragraph. The terms of the revenge are quite clear in Montresor's mind. And it is realized through the even process of killing.
? Pride pride can be a very dangerous thing, when one is overwhelmed with it. M stops at nothing to get the revenge that he deems himself and his family worthy of, and F’s pride will ultimately be the fall of his own death.