The American Renaissance “A Literary Coming of Age”

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The American Renaissance
“A Literary Coming of Age”
1840-1860
American Literature
 1.
 2.
 3.
 4.
Will there ever be an
American William
Shakespeare?
 Herman Melville and Nathaniel
Hawthorne thought YES
Both saw a dark side to human existence
Urged Americans to prize and cherish
American Literature
Renaissance
 “Rebirth”
Explosion of American Literary genius
Comparing themselves to European
Renaissance
“coming of age”
1849-1855 American writers produced large
body of work. Enough masterpieces for a
national literature
New England
 Had a great interest in self-
improvement and intellectual inquiry
Lyceum movement
 1826- Millbury Massachusetts
 Had a number of goals
Educating adults
Training teachers
Establishing museums
Instituting social reforms
Reform movements
 Horace Mann- improved public education
 Dorthea Dix- Relieved horrible conditions in
institutions for the mentally ill
 William Lloyd Garrison- struggled to put an
end to slavery
 Elizabeth Peabody, Margaret Fuller, Emma
Willard- campaigned to increase women’s
rights
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