Age of Romanticism
1) Romanticism is a movement that encompasses the fields of visual
art, architecture, music and literature.
2) The movement commenced in approximately 1800 in America.
3) The movement was presumably a reaction against the revolutionary
period that emphasized on reasoning and traditionalism.
4) Romanticism brought the purity of nature and mankind into focus.
5) Reasoning was overshadowed by passion and the concept of
romantic hero came into limelight.
6) This character symbolized youth, sentiments and intuition.
7) Romanticism enhanced the accomplishments of individuals and
artists who were looked upon as heroes in the social set up.
8) The artists of this regime believed and propagated the 5 i s
Inner Experience
Inspiration from nature and the supernatural.
Historical Context
• 1800-1870 = time of growth and expansion
• The move west brought new technologies in
transportation, industry, and communication:
• Canals and Railroads
• Factories and advanced farming equipment
• Telegraph and Morse code
Historical Context Cont.
• The move west and new technology also
spurred troublesome changes:
• Factories brought fierce competition = child labor
and unsafe working conditions
• Women’s rights were severely hampered and
efforts to change this came to the forefront
• Opposition to slavery began to grow and gain a
voice in abolitionists, eventually dividing the
nation in two
What is Romanticism?
• A literary and artistic movement that
placed an emphasis on imagination,
emotion, nature, and individuality
• Elevated the imagination over reason –
and – intuition over fact
• Reveled in nature
Who are the Romantics?
• Before 1800 American writers were not
widely read –
– Romantics changed this
• These writers define the American voice –
personal and bold
• These writers define the primary theme of
American writing:
– the quest of the individual to define
Romantic Writers of 1800s
Washington Irving
James Fenimore
William Cullen
Edgar Allan Poe
The Romantic Movement
The Age of Reason
• Age of Reason
• 1700-1800
• Age of Romanticism
• 1810-1865
intense feeling
of Romanticism
• Profound love of nature
• Focus on the self and the individual
• Fascination with the supernatural, mysterious,
• Yearning for picturesque and exotic
• Deep-rooted idealism
• Passionate nationalism
More on Authors
• In literature, writers published works that
embodied concepts of freedom, religious piety,
and independence that characterized the
– Washington Irving
“Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
– William Cullen Bryant
“Thanatopsis” “ To a Waterfowl”
– James Fennimore Cooper
Last of the Mohicans
– Edgar Allan Poe, the Goth Romantic “The Raven”
Washington Irving
• Romantic tales of folklore
adapted from European legends
• Set in American landscape
• Characterized by American
stereotypes that reveals general
truths about human nature
– Nagging wife
– Battered husband
More on Washington Irving’s Style
• Old truths (stereotypes) about human
nature and possibilities of American
landscape (mixes history with fantasy)
• Uses humorous tone (satirical at times)
but conveys serious message
about human values
Irving’s Notable Works
• “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
• “Rip Van Winkle”
• The Devil and Tom Walker”
• The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent.
• A History of New York…by Diedrich
Pictured: John Quidor, 1801–81, The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane,
1858, oil
Rip Van Winkle, oil on canvas by John Quidor, 1829; in the Art Institute of Chicago.
“The Devil and Tom Walker” by
Washington Irving
• Common folktale about selling soul to the
• “Devil will get his due”
• Other Devilish Names
– black man of the forest; black miner; black
woodsman; Old Scratch; Mephistopheles;
Satan; Diablo; Lucifer
James Fenimore Cooper
• 1st major American novelist
• Uses actual events in American history
as settings for his novels
• His characters define their personal values
by their experiences in the lawless
• Natural view of life is simple and profound
Cooper’s Notable Works
• Leatherstocking Tales---collection of 5
novels that chronicle life of Natty Bumppo
– The Pioneers
– The Last of the Mohicans
– The Prairie
– The Pathfinder
– The Deerslayer
• Natty Bumppo is literary hero
Cooper - Literary Analysis
• Characterization
– Round, dynamic character
– Literary hero
• Conflict
– Natty as a product of two conflicting cultures
• Theme
– Nature vs. civilization
William Cullen Bryant
• Poetry reflects Romantic approach to life
• Through imagination and intuition one can
learn from nature great moral and spiritual
• “Religion of Nature”---natural world is
inexhaustible source of moral and spiritual
• Observations of nature evoke feelings of self
in oneself.
• Father of American Poetry
More on
Bryant’s Philosophy
By living in harmony with nature,
• man will understand transience (temporary
state) on earth
• accept death
• rejoice in immortality of nature
Bryant’s Notable Poetry
• “To A Waterfowl”
• “Thanatopsis”
Commentary on “Thanatopsis”
• Romantic poets were often
concerned about:
– Death
– Individualism
• Since death is the final restriction upon the
self and its powers, individualism (the
power of the self) became an important
theme in poetry.
Theme of “Thanatopsis”
• By living in harmony with nature, and
realizing that all must come to an end, rather
than fear it, one can come to accept death
as a restful sleep
• If we move away from fear and bitterness
about death, then our broader awareness
about the “consciousness of time” (life
eternal) makes it possible to accept our time
on Earth and the natural completion of
Edgar Allean Poe
• Romantic view of Nature and the inner self
by depicting irrational characters in a
grotesque reality
• Nature’s greater truth = madness
“Poe myth” vs. Poe’s Reality
• Myth = immoral behavior; fiendish; brutish
• Reality = life was dull, miserable, dreary,
perhaps just unlucky
Poe’s Accomplishments
• Most important American poet before Walt
– Unreal atmosphere and musical effects influenced
French symbolist poets and on all modern poetry
• Literary critic
• Credited for giving short story it modern form
– Poe thought a short story should be short enough to
be read in one sitting so as to achieve and sustain a
single emotional effect
• Inventor of the detective story
Poe’s Gothic Elements of Literature
• Language
– Everyday language that focuses on nature
– Repetition
• Imagery
• Mystery, horror, violence, grotesque,
• 36-40 – Now, write a 5 or more sentence summary of
what you have learned about the Age of Romanticism.
Include what you may be excited to read or learn more
about in this unit! Be ready to tell Mrs. Hoover one new
thing as you leave today!