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American Renaissance

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history of american literature summary
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  Historia de la literatura American Renaissance, romanticism 1   American Renaissance: Romanticism Is called renaissance because there was a flowering of human opportunities, a rebirth for ideas of democracy, and there was a lot of optimism. There was also a high regard of individualism. Also, a strong anti-British feeling, there was a strong national pride. Americans saw many reasons to be optimistic in the second quarter of the 19th century. Deterministic theology of Calvin and had embraced either the Enlightenment faith or a Protestant faith in a generous and forgiving God .Deterministic theory: (determinism) all is predetermined by God but the American writers and the American society believed that they believed in the “manifest Destiny”, they believed that they were God chosen Nation, which they were the responsible people to bring democracy to the world. They thought they were God´s chosen nation. “We cannot escape fate. God has prepared a destiny for us”.  American dream. They thought they were the responsible for beginning democracy and believed in it. Transcendentalism American writers took romanticism from Europe but with a twist, a philosophical twist called transcendentalism. Transcendentalism is a branch of romanticism, is the American version of romanticism, it shared all the characteristics of romanticism: the exaltation of feelings, exaltation of nature, individualism. The transcendentalists formed a movement of feeling and beliefs rather than a system of philosophy. They rejected both the conservative Puritanism of their ancestors and the newer, liberal faith of Unitarism (a branch of the Christian church which does not believe in the Trinity). They saw both religions as negative, cold, lifeless. They tried to find the truth through intuition rather through logic. The beliefs that intuition is the highest source of knowledge led to an optimistic emphasis on individualism and self-reliance. The characteristics of Transcendentalism are: the faith in man and in what man can achieve (the typical American dream) the notion of intuition and inspiration, the believed in the over-soul (as a supreme reality of the mind, it is not the God, it is within me, it is imminent in each person and in nature), nature, Exaltation of feeling over reason, Self-reliant thing: me, myself and I, etc.    David Thoreau: he was a firm believer of transcendentalism; his works were filled with details about plants, rivers and wildlife. One of his masterpieces is called walden (a name of lake). The work speaks only of the practical side of living alone in the woods, of the plants, animals and insects. In fact, it is a completely Transcendentalist work. He rejects the things ordinary people desire in life, such as money and possessions. The Gothic The Gothic is distinctive for its fascination with the horrible, the repellent, the grotesque and the supernatural. Action in the Gothic novel tends to take place at night, or at least in a claustrophobic, sunless environment. Some motifs are: descent or falling off a precipice, secret passage, hidden doors, physically decay, skulls, cemeteries, blood and gore (derrame de sangre), torture, demonic possessions, the doppelganger( is an evil twin, a double or a ghost that takes your persona) black magic, madness, incest and other broken sexual taboos.  Historia de la literatura American Renaissance, romanticism 2      Nathaniel Hawthorne: He was from Salem (/seilem/) were the witch trials took place and his grandfather was a judge n those trials, so it was a great influence for his writings. He always wrote about man in society, rather than about man in nature. He was interested in the dark side of the human mind. His characters usually have some secret guilt or problem which keeps them at distance from other people. They are troubled by pride, envy, or the desire for revenge. The Scarlet Letter   explores was a story set in a puritan society. It was a story of adultery (that’s why the big red “a” that the main character had to wear on here dress, showing the world that she committed adultery). It tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt. This story is gothic because of the themes.    Edgar Allan Poe: he was interested in psychology and the darker side of human nature. He mastered the art of the short story. He was also one of the creators of detective fiction. His method was to put his characters unusual situations. Next, he would describe feelings of guilt or terror. He took the gothic style and did it more like a thriller, more psychological. Some of his most famous stories are: The Tell-Tale Heart and The Black Cat. The Tell-Tale Heart is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed. (The victim was an old man with a filmy vulture-eye , as the narrator calls it.) The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by dismembering it and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator's guilt manifests itself in the form of the sound — possibly hallucinatory — of the old man's heart still beating under the floorboards. Pantheism It is a metaphysically and religious position. It is the view that every existing entity is only one Being; and that all other forms of literally are modes of it or identical with it. The basic characteristic of pantheism is the immanence of God in the world i.e. the presence within the natural world of a spiritual principle. There is no God as in Christian religion; this is more like a philosophical doctrine. God is the universe; therefore all the elements in the universe are God like. Pantheism and Transcendentalism share many principles; however, in Transcendentalism, nature is not perceived as divine. Pantheists, on the other hand, see wilderness as symbolizing a closeness to their “god” (the matter/energy that flows through all living things).      Walt Whitman : he shocked the reading public with his images of sex and “vulgarity”. Leaves of Grass  was his life´s work. The title was a pun: grass was a synonym of minor literature, leaves represents pages, so it is like a collection of minor literature. The book grew and changed as he and his country, America, grew and changed. He was the first to explore fully the possibilities of free verse. In the poetry, the lines are not usually organized into stanzas, the look more like ordinary sentences.
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