Romanticism (1770-1848)

In this new unit we will analyze a new era in literature; that is, the Romanticism.

What do you know about it?

What important artists belonged to this movement?

As an introduction let’s watch the following scene from the movie “A clockwork orange”.

What is “Romanticism”?

Watch the following video and answer the questions below:

  • How could you define Romanticism in one word?
  • When was Romanticism born?
  • What was the artistic objective of Romantic artists?


Now, let’s analyse some romantic literary works:

The Tyger & London by William Blake


Romanticism in America

The American Civil War (introduction)


Walt Whitman’s “Oh Captain my Captain” dedicated to Abraham Lincoln



Self-reliance – Ralph Waldo Emerson




“But now we are a mob. Man does not stand in awe of man, nor is his

genius admonished to stay at home, to put itself in communication with the

internal ocean, but it goes abroad to beg a cup of water of the urns of other

men. We must go alone. I like the silent church before the service begins,

better than any preaching. How far o_, how cool, how chaste the persons

look, begirt each one with a precinct or sanctuary! So let us always sit.

Why should we assume the faults of our friend, or wife, or father, or child,

because they sit around our hearth, or are said to have the same blood?

All men have my blood, and I have all men’s. Not for that will I adopt

their petulance or folly, even to the extent of being ashamed of it. But your

isolation must not be mechanical, but spiritual, that is, must be elevation.

At times the whole world seems to be in conspiracy to importune you with

emphatic tries. Friend, client, child, sickness, fear, want, charity, all knock

at once at thy closet door, and say, | `Come out unto us.’ But keep thy

state; come not into their confusion”.



“Prayer that craves a particular commodity, | any thing less than all good,

| is vicious. Prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest

point of view. It is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. It is the

spirit of God pronouncing his works good. But prayer as a means to effect

a private end is meanness and theft. It supposes dualism and not unity in

nature and consciousness. As soon as the man is at one with God, he will not

beg. He will then see prayer in all action. The prayer of the farmer kneeling

in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of

his oar, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends.”


“Insist on yourself, never imitate”

“We imitate; and what is imitation but the

travelling of the mind? Our houses are built with foreign taste; our shelves

are garnished with foreign ornaments; our opinions, our tastes, our faculties,

lean, and follow the Past and the Distant. The soul created the arts wherever

they have nourished. It was in his own mind that the artist sought his model.

It was an application of his own thought to the thing to be done and the

conditions to be observed. And why need we copy the Doric or the Gothic

model? Beauty, convenience, grandeur of thought, and quaint expression are

as near to us as to any, and if the American artist will study with hope and

love the precise thing to be done by him, considering the climate, the soil,

the length of the day, the wants of the people, the habit and form of the

government, he will create a house in which all these will find themselves

fitted, and taste and sentiment will be satisfied also”.



“A political victory, a rise of rents,

the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other

favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for

you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing

can bring you peace but the triumph of principles”.


Activity: Read the essay “Self-reliance” for next class.


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