英美文学通论
美国文学讲义2
发布时间: 2008-05-26   浏览次数: 339

Chapter 2 American Romanticism

  Section 1 Early Romantic Period What is Romanticism?

  lAn approach from ancient Greek: Plato

  lA literary trend: 18c in Britain 1798~1832

  lSchlegel Bros.

  I. Preview: Characteristics of romanticism

  1.subjectivity

  (1feeling and emotions, finding truth

  (2emphasis on imagination

  (3emphasis on individualism  personal freedom, no hero worship, natural goodness of human beings

  2.back to medieval, esp medieval folk literature

  (1unrestrained by classical rules

  (2full of imagination

  (3colloquial language

  (4freedom of imagination

  (5genuine in feelings: answer their call for classics

  3.back to nature

  nature is ※breathing living thing§ Rousseau

  II. American Romanticism

  1.Background

  (1Political background and economic development

  (2Romantic movement in European countries

  Derivative  foreign influence

  2.features

  (1American romanticism was in essence the expression of ※a real new experience and contained ※an alien quality§ for the simple reason that ※the spirit of the place§ was radically new and alien.

  (2There is American Puritanism as a cultural heritage to consider. American romantic authors tended more to moralize. Many American romantic writings intended to edify more than they entertained.

  (3The ※newness§ of Americans as a nation is in connection with American Romanticism.

  (4As a logical result of the foreign and native factors at work, American romanticism was both imitative and independent.

  III.    Washington Irving

  1.several names attached to Irving

  (1first American writer

  (2the messenger sent from the new world to the old world

  (3father of American literature

  2.life

  3.works

  (1A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty

  (2The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. He won a measure of international recognition with the publication of this.

  (3The History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus

  (4A Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada

  (5The Alhambra

  4.Literary career: two parts

  (11809~1832

  a. Subjects are either English or European

  b. Conservative love for the antique

  (21832~1859: back to US

  5.style  beautiful

  (1gentility, urbanity, pleasantness

  (2avoiding moralizing  amusing and entertaining

  (3enveloping stories in an atmosphere

  (4vivid and true characters

  (5humour  smiling while reading

  (6musical language

  IV.     James Fenimore Cooper

  1.life

  2.works

  (1Precaution 1820, his first novel, imitating Austens Pride and Prejudice

  (2The Spy his second novel and great success

  (3Leatherstocking Tales his masterpiece, a series of five novels

  The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, The Pioneer, The Prairie

  3.point of view he theme of wilderness vs. civilization, freedom vs. law, order vs. change, aristocrat vs. democrat, natural rights vs. legal rights

  4.style

  (1highly imaginative

  (2good at inventing tales

  (3good at landscape description

  (4conservative

  (5characterization wooden and lacking in probability

  (6language and use of dialect not authentic

  5.literary achievements

  He created a myth about the formative period of the American nation. If the history of the United States is, in a sense, the process of the American settlers exploring and pushing the American frontier forever westward, then Coopers Leatherstocking Tales effectively approximates the American national experience of adventure into the West. He turned the west and frontier as a useable past and he helped to introduce western tradition to American literature.

  Section 2 Summit of Romanticism  American Transcendentalism I. Background: four sources

  1.Unitarianism

  (1Fatherhood of God

  (2Brotherhood of men

  (3Leadership of Jesus

  (4Salvation by character perfection of ones character

  (5Continued progress of mankind

  (6Divinity of mankind

  (7Depravity of mankind

  2.Romantic Idealism

  Center of the world is spirit, absolute spirit Kant

  3.Oriental mysticism

  Center of the world is ※oversoul§

  4.Puritanism

  Eloquent expression in transcendentalism

  II. Appearance

  1836, ※Nature§ by Emerson

  III.    Features

  1.spirit/oversoul

  2.importance of individualism

  3.nature  symbol of spirit/God

  garment of the oversoul

  4.focus in intuition irrationalism and subconsciousness

  IV.     Influence

  1.It served as an ethical guide to life for a young nation and brought about the idea that human can be perfected by nature. It stressed religious tolerance, called to throw off shackles of customs and traditions and go forward to the development of a new and distinctly American culture.

  2.It advocated idealism that was great needed in a rapidly expanded economy where opportunity often became opportunism, and the desire to ※get on§ obscured the moral necessity for rising to spiritual height.

  3.It helped to create the first American renaissance  one of the most prolific period in American literature.

  V.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

  1.life

  2.works

  (1Nature

  (2Two essays: The American Scholar, The Poet

  3.point of view

  (1One major element of his philosophy is his firm belief in the transcendence of the ※oversoul§.

  (2He regards nature as the purest, and the most sanctifying moral influence on man, and advocated a direct intuition of a spiritual and immanent God in nature.

  (3If man depends upon himself, cultivates himself and brings out the divine in himself, he can hope to become better and even perfect. This is what Emerson means by ※the infinitude of man§.

  (4Everyone should understand that he makes himself by making his world, and that he makes the world by making himself.

  4.aesthetic ideas

  (1He is a complete man, an eternal man.

  (2True poetry and true art should ennoble.

  (3The poet should express his thought in symbols.

  (4As to theme, Emerson called upon American authors to celebrate America which was to him a lone poem in itself.

  5.his influence

  VI.     Henry David Thoreau

  1.life

  2.works

  (1A Week on the Concord and Merrimack River

  (2Walden

  (3A Plea for John Brown an essay

  3.point of view

  (1He did not like the way a materialistic America was developing and was vehemently outspoken on the point.

  (2He hated the human injustice as represented by the slavery system.

  (3Like Emerson, but more than him, Thoreau saw nature as a genuine restorative, healthy influence on mans spiritual well-being.

  (4He has faith in the inner virtue and inward, spiritual grace of man.

  (5He was very critical of modern civilization.

  (6※Simplicitysimplify!§

  (7He was sorely disgusted with ※the inundations of the dirty institutions of mens odd-fellow society§.

  (8He has calm trust in the future and his ardent belief in a new generation of men.

  Section 3 Late Romanticism I. Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1.life

  2.works

  (1Two collections of short stories: Twice-told Tales, Mosses from and Old Manse

  (2The Scarlet Letter

  (3The House of the Seven Gables

  (4The Marble Faun

  3.point of view

  (1Evil is at the core of human life, ※that blackness in Hawthorne§

  (2Whenever there is sin, there is punishment. Sin or evil can be passed from generation to generation causality.

  (3He is of the opinion that evil educates.

  (4He has disgust in science.

  4.aesthetic ideas

  (1He took a great interest in history and antiquity. To him these furnish the soil on which his mind grows to fruition.

  (2He was convinced that romance was the predestined form of American narrative. To tell the truth and satirize and yet not to offend: That was what Hawthorne had in mind to achieve.

  5.style  typical romantic writer

  (1the use of symbols

  (2revelation of characters psychology

  (3the use of supernatural mixed with the actual

  (4his stories are parable parable inform  to teach a lesson

  (5use of ambiguity to keep the reader in the world of uncertainty  multiple point of view

  II. Herman Melville

  1.life

  2.works

  (1Typee

  (2Omio

  (3Mardi

  (4Redburn

  (5White Jacket

  (6Moby Dick

  (7Pierre

  (8Billy Budd

  3.point of view

  (1He never seems able to say an affirmative yes to life: His is the attitude of ※Everlasting Nay§ negative attitude towards life.

  (2One of the major themes of his is alienation far away from each other.

  Other themes: loneliness, suicidal individualism individualism causing disaster and death, rejection and quest, confrontation of innocence and evil, doubts over the comforting 19c idea of progress

  4.style

  (1Like Hawthorne, Melville manages to achieve the effect of ambiguity through employing the technique of multiple view of his narratives.

  (2He tends to write periodic chapters.

  (3His rich rhythmical prose and his poetic power have been profusely commented upon and praised.

  (4His works are symbolic and metaphorical.

  (5He includes many non-narrative chapters of factual background or description of what goes on board the ship or on the route Moby Dick