Unit 14 Isms: Transcendentalism and American Romanticism

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Transcendentalism

emphasis on the free life of the spirit and the need for each person to discover truth on his or her own

American Renaissance

literally movement that flourished after 1820

Harriet Beecher Stowe

(1811-1896) American abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom's Cabin (Stowe)

had a profound effect on attitudes toward African Americans and slavery in the United States

James Fennimore Cooper

(1789-1851) created an American archetype through Leatherstocking Tales

Leatherstocking Tales (Cooper)

series of novels by American writer James Fennimore Cooper, each featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo

Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803-1882) most influential spokesman for those who sought a national literature and art

"The American Scholar" (Emerson)

called on American writers to break free of European standards

Henry David Thoreau

(1817-1862) American author, poet, philosopher, and leading transcendentalist

Civil Disobedience (Thoreau)

defended disobedience of unjust laws

Walden (Thoreau)

personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, and manual for self reliance

Margaret Fuller

(1810-1850) journalist, women's rights activist associated with the American transcendental movement; book Woman in the Nineteenth Century considered major feminist work in the United States

Women in the Nineteenth Century (Fuller)

cast aside the doctrine of "separate spheres"; contended that no woman could achieve personal fulfillment without developing her intellectual abilities

Walt Whitman

(1819-1892) American poet, essayist; part of the transition between Transcendentalism and realism

Leaves of Grass (Whitman)

shattered existing poetic conventions

Nathaniel Hawthorne

(1804-1864) American novelist and short story writer

Scarlet Letter (Hawthorne)

explores themes of sin, and guilt

Herman Melville

(1819-1891) American novelist, short story writer, essayist and poet; work often classified as dark romanticism

Moby-Dick (Melville)

embodiment of American Romanticism

Edgar Allan Poe

(1809-1849): American writer, poet; part of the American Romantic Movement; best known for his tales of mystery

"The Raven" (Poe)

noted for its musicality, stylized language, and supernatural atmosphere

Dark romanticism

literary subgenre that emerged from the American Renaissance; works notably less optimistic than transcendental texts about mankind, nature, and divinity

Lyceum

an institution aimed at bringing culture to a broader public

Hudson River School

landscape painting that emphasized grandeur, emotion

Oversoul

denotes a supreme underlying unity which transcends duality or plurality

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