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:
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.