Romanticism: The romantic period, from the end of the18thcentury to the end of the Civil War, is an important period in the history of American literature.
Good night, friends! Today an interesting article by Zhang Huaming about American Romanticism compared with European Romantics.
Enjoy it in this Romantic Night.
This paper accounts for the American romanticism and its difference with its European counterpart. Romanticism was rebellious in spirit, standing in reaction against the neoclassical spirit and then prevailing in American literary life. The romantic period, which stretches from the end of the18thcentury, through the end of the Civil War, is one of the most important periods in the history of American literature. The romantic showed a profound admiration and love for nature, the beauty and perfection of nature could produce in him an unspeakable joy and exaltation.
Keywords American Romanticism contrast European counterpart
I. American Romanticism
Basically, romanticism represented an attitude toward the realities of man, nature, and society, which had its source in the stirring events both in Europe and in America; it was not an organized system. Romanticism was rebellious in spirit, standing in reaction against the neoclassical spirit and then prevailing in American literary life. Different from neoclassical who stressed formality, order and authority, the romantic emphasized freedom and individualism, believing that imagination was superior to rationalism. Different from the neoclassical, who was convinced of the validity of material reality, the romantic preferred the innate perfection by the heart of man. To the romantic, ideality and elevation was a reality that was more loft than evidence of the substantial things; and his reliance upon the significance of the substantial, inner life found expression in institutionalism and a profound interest in abnormal psychology illustrated in the works of such man as Emerson, Poe, and Howthorne. The romantic showed a profound admiration and love for nature, the beauty and perfection of nature could produce in him an unspeakable joy and exaltation; the romantic believed that he was the chosen and favored creature in nature; hence he was free in using his talent to eulogize nature. The natural poetry of Bryant and Longfellow typically exhibited this primitive literature, such as epics, ballads, and other forms of folk literature. It is difficult to give a satisfactory definition of romanticism.
The romantic period, which stretches from the end of the18thcentury, through the end of the Civil War, is one of the most important periods in the history of American literature. The years from 1815 to 1820 have been regarded by many literary historians as the “pivotal period in the development of romanticism. The romantic spirit originally come into being and strengthened in Germany, France and England from the middle of 18th century, as a react against the prevailing neo-classical spirit and rationalism during the age of Reason. In literature, romanticism found earlier expression in German, French and England literatures than in American literature. Generally speaking, the poetry of Philip Freneau bears the first distinctly ram antic quality in American literature, but it did not establish the trend. The significance of Freneau and his poetry lies in a transitional rule neo-classicism and romanticism. The strong influence of European romanticism did not reach the New World until the first decade of the 19th century, when more and more young Americans traveled to Europe for the purpose of education. On their return to America, they began to spread the impact of Romanticism. And stimulate interest in such a movement.
Edward Everett and Gorge Tickonr were the representative who come first in contact with European romanticism, the former was editor of the magazine North American Review, the latter the first Smith Professor of Modern Language at Harvard, More important than Edward and Gorge in popularizing romanticism in American was Washington Irving. His travel to Europe, brought him not only into contact with romanticism but also the meeting with Sir Walter Scott, one of the most important English authors of the period. At the same time, there was an increase in the number of the leading European romantics’ works published in America.
II. Its contract with the European counterpart.
“Although foreign influences were strong, American romanticism exhibited from the very outset distinct feature of its own”
1. American romanticism was in essence the expression of “a new experience” and contained an alien quality because the spirit of American was radically new. For instance, the American experience of pioneering into the west proved to be a rich found of material for American writers to drown upon.
2. Due to the impact of Puritanism, American moral values were essentially puritan. Public opinion was overwhelmingly puritan, the puritan.
3. What in connection with American romanticism was the “newness” of the American as a nation. American writers and critics placed too much emphasis on this “newness”
4. American romanticism was both imitative and independent. Writers like Irving, especially the group of New England poets tried to model their works upon English and European masters.
Interesting link: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/cs6/rom.html