19 th Century American Literature 1820-1865. AKA  ANTEBELLUM LITERATURE (1820-1860)  AMERICAN ROMANTICISM  AMERICAN RENAISSANCE (1830-50s)

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Text of 19 th Century American Literature 1820-1865. AKA  ANTEBELLUM LITERATURE (1820-1860)  AMERICAN...

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  • 19 th Century American Literature 1820-1865
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  • AKA ANTEBELLUM LITERATURE (1820-1860) AMERICAN ROMANTICISM AMERICAN RENAISSANCE (1830-50s)
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  • AMERICAN ROMANTICISM
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  • creative powers of individual mind almost god-like powers regenerative power of nature, American landscape America is a poem in our eyes (The Poet) limits of historical traditions, associations stultifying effects of established institutions mystical glories of pre-socialized infancy infancy of USA self-reliance non-conformity possibility of the miraculous in the here & now
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE
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  • 1830-50s spark in 1830s Emerson peak in 1850s Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE American writing = achieves its 1st significant maturity coming of age
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE Right Time: culturally time of peace after Revolutionary War after War of 1812 politically from Enlightenment & Revolution> optimism re: mans possibilities & mans perfectibility democracy> value of individual
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE Right Time: economically peace after war growing business, commerce growing leisure class coming depression of mid-century, panic of 1837 religiously stern Calvinism = replaced by purely logical Deism & its (over)reaction to Great Awakenings emotionalism unsatisfied & hungry for something new, personal but not traditional reaction to growing materialism
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE Right Time: aesthetically felt restrained by Neo-Classicism (form, lack of emotion) less @ form more @ inspiration & emotion heart over rules
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE anti-American Literature: not taught in US schools until mid-20thC not taken seriously seen as subordinate to British lit
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE against idea of American Renaissance: selling idea created in 1941 (we need a ren. as British) critics of the period excluded women, blacks, Indians, . critics were disinterested in popular writers of the day (not until 1970s, 1980s) critics were disinterested in works outside of New York & Massachusetts critics had ignored the periods social/political contexts: immigration, slavery, critics had overemphasized the separation of English & American literary traditions *how can it be a rebirth when its only beginning, still in the process of becoming
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  • AMERICAN RENAISSANCE centrality: building on writings that preceded it & pointing to future possibilities fulfillment of calls for American literary tradition from 1790s+ American literature:
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  • 1820s
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  • 1st great culmination of American literary nationalism helped spawn the Renaissance to come next Irving, WC Bryant, JF Cooper, CM Sedgwick (bigger readership than 1830s, 1850s)
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  • 1820s LITERARY NATIONALISM (#1): end of Revolutionary War (1790s) sign of a great nation = great national literature felt new country had raw materials for it different moral themes from Europe
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  • 1820s BUT vulnerability, uncertainty, fragility not sure if US would last French Revolutions Reign of Terror Napoleonic Wars War of 1812/2nd War w/England British burned Capital & White House delay of national literature
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  • 1820s 1815: defeat of British at New Orleans by Andrew Jackson national identity ANDREW JACKSON = America national mythology republican hero incarnation of the democratic spirit of the age anti-aristocratic anti-monarchical average person (obscure background) added w/fighting Indians in Florida became US president 1828
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  • 1820s Andrew Jackson & Effect on Literature: celebration of ordinary people & their abilities hostility to unearned social distinction & inherited wealth (common man) (anti-aristocracy)
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  • 1820s LITERARY NATIONALISM (#2): optimistic nationalism calls for a new American literature North American Review, Boston journal literature of our own American images, allusions, metaphorical language true freedom = complete emancipation from literary enthrallment
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  • 1820s 1820s: answered call Irvings Sketches Bryants Poems Coopers Spy & Pioneers
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  • 1820s NOT separate from British lit. traditions BUT alongside shared language shared love of Brit. It greats Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton, Addison & Steele, Pope Wordsworth, Byron, Walter Scott
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  • 1820s CRITICAL of early national culture: reverential to European historical & cultural past & skeptical about boastful US culture w/little interest in art & history (or w/a cultural past of its own) demythologizing of past (Revol. War) tempered by awareness of rise & fall of great nations ENLIGHTENMENT notion evidenced in American & French Revolutions ** impermanency, mutability **
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  • 1820s uncertainty: change in US geography Louisiana Purchase 1803 (doubled size BUT also caused more problems ) free states vs. slave states Missouri Compromises 1820/21 lack of national consensus states rights, slavery, internal improvements, national tariffs
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  • 1820s nature: part of our national character great landscapes comprehend Gods spirit in it
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE
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  • British lit in US: easy access ocean port rivers within months of original publication tough for US writers to publish in US subscription system: had to arrange committed purchasers prior to publishing
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE geographys importance: big cities big ports = big publishing businesses ocean port rivers New York Erie Canal (1825) Ohio territory Philadelphia (not Boston until R/R)
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE copyright laws: no international copyrights most British works = pirated copies no royalties paid to authors (DVDs, CDs todays) cheaper than publishing American lit b/c of national copyright American writers & day jobs no professional US writers (except Irving)
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE 1820-65: changes in US that helped US publication population growth 4 million (1790) 30 million (1860) Irish immigration of 40s, 50s territorial expansion technological developments in publishing increased urbanization transportation developments canals, railroads
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE mid-19th C: Irish immigration economic depression migration to cities Mexican War that brought 1.2 m sq.miles (now = 3msm) gold rush travel literature newspapers & magazine boom
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE newspapers & magazines: newspapers: 400 thousands magazines: 100 600 Grahams & Godeys Ladys Book = new medium for publication poetry fiction personal essays travel writing political reportage women writers
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  • LITERARY MARKETPLACE WOMEN: writers editors successful, prosperous argument against women writers: inflaming their imaginations & undermining their moral place in the privacy of home (domesticity) SUBVERSION: often challenging the notions of domesticity from within cultural power of domesticity
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  • RENAISSANCE, REFORM, CONFLICT
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  • RENAISSANCE, REFORM, CONFLICT Renaissance in the sense of a flowering excitement re: human possibilities a high regard for individual a defiance of British lit. traditions, for American a struggle to understand what "American" could possibly mean **rebirth of founding ideals Revolutionary ideals Enlightenment principles principles of Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, Federalist
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  • RENAISSANCE, REFORM, CONFLICT REFORM: conviction that American literature & culture = not living up to their Revolutionary or democratic promises (Enlightenment ideals) reform movements womens rights temperance abolition, anti-slavery plight of the urban poor anti-Catholicism (Protestant evangelical reform) a protest against Catholicism *doctrine of reform = central to American Renaissance period
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  • RENAISSANCE, REFORM, CONFLICT RW EMERSON & Reform: personal: Transcendentalism society: abolition, temperance, womens suffrage literature: rejects American literary nationalism as timid, imitative
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  • RENAISSANCE, REFORM, CONFLICT LITERARY NATIONALISM (#3): in RWEs American Scholar speech exhortation to break dependence on courtly muses of Europe a new call for American literature
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  • TRANSCENDENTALISM
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  • Emersons the Transcendentalists (1842 lecture) The Transcendentalist adopts the whole connection of spiritual doctrine. He believes in miracle, in the perpetual openness of the human mind to new influx of light and power; he believes in inspiration, and in ecstasy.