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American Romanticism Approximate years: 1800 -1860 American Romanticism Approximate years: 1800 -1860

A New Philosophy • Romanticism: school of thought that valued feeling and intuition over A New Philosophy • Romanticism: school of thought that valued feeling and intuition over reason and logic • Began in Germany in the 1750 s • Strong influence on literature, music and art • Developed as a reaction to Rationalism/Deism • Romantics believed that there were limits to reason and logic and that imagination was more powerful than both

A New School of Thought • Romantics believed that poetry was the highest form A New School of Thought • Romantics believed that poetry was the highest form of art and the most perfect example of imagination • Romantics sought wisdom in natural beauty • Some even believed it was the only place where man could truly connect with God

Characteristics of Romanticism • • Values feeling and intuition over reason Places faith in Characteristics of Romanticism • • Values feeling and intuition over reason Places faith in experience and imagination Rejects civilization in favor of nature Prefers youthful innocence to educated sophistication Champions individual freedom Looks to the wisdom of the past Finds beauty and inspiration in myth and the supernatural

Romantic Escapism Two Types of Romantics in America Type I: Gothic Romantics • Romantics Romantic Escapism Two Types of Romantics in America Type I: Gothic Romantics • Romantics wanted to rise above “dull realities” to a realm of higher truth • Sought to understand the psychological aspects of the human mind, especially how we deal with guilt and loss • Known for stories with • Exotic settings • Supernatural elements • Folktales and legends Examples of this type of Romanticism? Gothic Romantics—Poe, Hawthorne, Irving, Melville

Washington Irving • Wrote under several pseudonyms • Dietrich Knickerbocker • Geoffrey Crayon • Washington Irving • Wrote under several pseudonyms • Dietrich Knickerbocker • Geoffrey Crayon • First found success as a satirist • Satire: the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. • A History of New York: funny, fake history that ridiculed America’s past • Influenced by British Romantic, Sir Walter Scott • Encouraged Irving to read German folklore and legend for inspiration • Began writing folktales based on German tales with American twist

The Devil and Tom Walker • Archetypal plot pattern: Faust story • In literature, The Devil and Tom Walker • Archetypal plot pattern: Faust story • In literature, an archetype is a typical character, an action or a situation that seems to represent such universal patterns of human nature. • Original Story—written by German Johann Goethe in 1790 • Archetypal plot pattern: Man sells his soul to devil for personal gain during his life on earth • Each retelling puts its own spin on the ending

The Devil and Tom Walker • Symbolism • Trees in swamp: symbolize the men The Devil and Tom Walker • Symbolism • Trees in swamp: symbolize the men whose names they bear • Look healthy and prosperous, but are rotten inside • Ax: woodsman (old scratch) is instrumental in the downfall of the “trees”. Their deaths are fuel to him, like logs on a fire • Cautionary Tale—What is Irving satirizing in this story? • False piety/hypocritical religious beliefs • Excessive greed • Theme: What is Irving saying about greed and false piety? • Avarice can destroy individual lives, marriages, and pits the poor against the wealthy. False Piety will not save you from damnation.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 -1864) • Descendent of Judge Hathorne (Salem Witch Trials) • Heavily Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 -1864) • Descendent of Judge Hathorne (Salem Witch Trials) • Heavily influenced by his Puritan ancestry—felt so guilty about family involvement in SWT that he changed the spelling of his name • Short stories and novels deal with sin and redemption • First success was a collection of short stories— Twice Told Tales 1837 • Achieved literary popularity with The Scarlet Letter in 1850

Nathaniel Hawthorne • “The Minister’s Black Veil” • Parable: short stories often from religious Nathaniel Hawthorne • “The Minister’s Black Veil” • Parable: short stories often from religious scripture that teach a moral lesson—the meaning is often ambiguous • Hawthorne calls this a parable to make it clear that this is NOT realism—this is a story with a moral lesson • Symbol: a person, place, thing, or event that has meaning in itself and also stands for something more than itself

Nathaniel Hawthorne • “The Minister’s Black Veil” • Symbolism—THE VEIL • Hooper explains that Nathaniel Hawthorne • “The Minister’s Black Veil” • Symbolism—THE VEIL • Hooper explains that it is a symbol of “universal secret sin” − Why black? —inspires dread in his congregation − Why wear it? —Hooper declares his kinship with all people as a secret sinner – Makes congregation uncomfortable because it reminds them of their own secret sins

Edgar Allan Poe Historical/Biographical Info • Father deserted family when Poe was 3 • Edgar Allan Poe Historical/Biographical Info • Father deserted family when Poe was 3 • Mother, Eliza, well known actress who contracted TB and died soon after Poe’s father left • Placed in foster care with Frances and John Allan (childless couple); separated from siblings; brother eventually dies of TB as well • Foster mother, Frances, contracted TB when Poe was in college • John Allan carried on numerous affairs during his wife’s illness, fathered several illegitimate children, and eventually disinherited Edgar • After leaving UVA (debt) and West Point (gambling and debt), he found a home with his aunt, Maria Clemm and cousin Virginia • Married Virginia when she was 13 and he was 26 • She too, contracted TB and died soon after…she was the inspiration for some of Poe’s greatest poetry ( The Raven and Annabelle Lee)

Edgar Allan Poe Historical/Biographical Info • Supported family as literary editor for various magazines Edgar Allan Poe Historical/Biographical Info • Supported family as literary editor for various magazines • Wrote his own novels, poems, and short stories without the backing of a publisher • Created the “detective story” genre with character of sleuth C. Auguste Dupin • Explored the criminal mind and the psychology of a killer with stories like “Tell Tale Heart” and “Hop-Frog” • As a writer, he was the master of the psychological thriller—wanted to discover the unsettling truth in the dark, irrational depths of the mind

Edgar Allan Poe Fall of the House of Usher • Fall of the House Edgar Allan Poe Fall of the House of Usher • Fall of the House of Usher • House of Usher: sounds like European aristocracy…why? • Satire of European Aristocracy? − Both Madeline and Roderick suffer from genetic diseases • Poe is commenting on incest among aristocracy or fearing for himself?

Edgar Allan Poe Fall of the House of Usher • Basic Plot • Exposition: Edgar Allan Poe Fall of the House of Usher • Basic Plot • Exposition: Narrator comes to visit old friend, Roderick. • Rising Action: • Roderick explains his illness to narrator and the illness of his sister, Madeline, who is close to death. • Roderick and Narrator spend time together reading, playing music, and painting • Usher announces Madeline is dead and must be buried immediately • After a week, on a stormy night, Roderick is acting strange; narrator reads him a story. • Climax: Madeline enters the chamber and she and Roderick die in each other’s arms • Resolution: the narrator escapes as the house collapses on itself.

Edgar Allan Poe Fall of the House of Usher • Group Activity • Each Edgar Allan Poe Fall of the House of Usher • Group Activity • Each table group will analyze and discuss a specific part of the story and present their analysis to the class. Make sure your group finds specific examples from the text (in the form of quotations) to support your opinions

Group Activity--Usher • Setting—How does the setting initially contribute to the atmosphere of gloom, Group Activity--Usher • Setting—How does the setting initially contribute to the atmosphere of gloom, dread and terror? How is this atmosphere heightened on the night Madeline comes out of the tomb? • • Character—Compare Contrast Roderick and Madeline. What conclusion does our narrator come to regarding these siblings that surprises even him? • • Roderick tries to control all of his feelings and senses; Madeline’s character is very 1 dimensional she is either alive and seems like a specter, or she appears dead. They are twins, so in some way they are two halves of the same whole. Roderick is the mind’s attempt to explain the world through reason and logic (while carefully controlling all emotion) and Madeline is all feeling and emotion (or nothing at all) Analyze the narrator—how would you characterize him? Are there any descriptions of him? What character traits define him? What is his function in the story? How is he affected by the House of Usher? • • The narrator describes it as “insufferable gloom”, “dull” and “dark”, “bleak”, “vacant” “utter depression of soul” on the night: “gloomy furniture”, “dark”, “tattered”, “tortured into motion”, “intense sentiment of horror”, heightened even more when the house begins to make the noises described in the story the narrator reads “the echo of the very cracking/ripping sound” He is a kind and loyal friend. Somewhat brave for entering and staying at a house that makes him feel so awful (“a sense of insufferable gloom). We know very little about him—no description, nothing about where he’s been or where he came from, only that he and Usher had been friends in boyhood. This is because Poe wants us to see ourselves as the narrator. That is his true function in the story he is the character through which we experience the House of Usher. Identify and explain the following symbols: the crack/fissure; the individual bricks; and the winds during the final night of the house. • • • The crack: the break in Usher’s sanity; the two surviving Ushers The individual bricks: the individual members of the Usher family, long dead The wind: the Lady Madeline rising from the grave the winds symbolize her struggle to get out of the tomb

Group Activity--Usher • What do you think is happening at the end of the Group Activity--Usher • What do you think is happening at the end of the story? Is Madeline a ghost? A hallucination? Or a real, living person who has been buried alive? • • She is a real person who has been buried alive. Proof? Usher says it “We have put her living in the tomb!” It is foreshadowed: “the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and face”. She is covered in blood when she appears and was clean in a white gown when they buried her, a perfect example of her “bitter struggle” What does the poem mean? What is its symbolic meaning? Is the Palace a symbol for something else? Draw a picture of the house as described in the poem? • • • The poem is about a palace that was once beautiful and happy, but then it was attacked by evil and now people who see it, fear it. On a symbolic level, it is about the House of Usher itself. But it is also about Roderick and his loss of sanity. If you draw a picture of the poem, it looks like Usher.

Group Activity--Usher • • Identify and explain the following symbols: the house; the storm; Group Activity--Usher • • Identify and explain the following symbols: the house; the storm; Roderick and Madeline’s diseases. • • • The house: the family and the individuals who are left of the family—R and M The storm: symbolizes the chaos in usher’s mind on the last night The diseases: the “family evils” that have been inherited through inbreeding Theme--What do you think theme of the story is? What is Poe trying to teach us about humanity? How is this story an examination of the human mind? Considering Roderick and Madeline haven’t left the house in years, what might Poe be saying about isolating oneself from society? • • When isolated from people and society, like Usher, we lose touch with our sanity Usher is the reason and logic; Madeline is the feeling