Unit 4 Renaissance Literature Final4
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Unit 4: American Renaissance 5 Major Writers
Praise American writers Melville—defended American writers Unlikely friendship with Hawthorne Webster “America must be as individual in literature as she is in politics, as famous for arts as for arms.”
Similar to the European Renaissance Mark of cultural maturity
Lyceum Movement Emerson—most famous and popular of the lecture series My (Ms. Howard’s) experiences with lecture series 1991--Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Desmond Tutu, Louis Farrakhan Late 1990s—Kurt Vonnegut, Maya Angelou 2000s-present—Chicago Humanities Festival, County-Wide Institutes
American Romanticism (unit we are skipping) Movement began in Europe & developed distinct American char. out of colonial past & development of new nation. 2 principle ways in which Romantic sensibility sought to rise above “dull realities”: Exploring exotic settings—past & present Contemplating natural world
James Fennimore Cooper—The Last of the Mohicans, Washington Irving--Rip Van Winkle, William Cullen Bryant—Thanatopsis Made way for Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
Intro: Reform Movements Education--Horace Mann
Insane asylum conditions--Dorothea Dix Abolitionist--William Lloyd Garrison Women’s Rights Elizabeth Palmer Peabody Margaret Fuller Frances Willard
Transcendentalists Emmanual Kant Word referred to the idea that matters of the ultimate reality—God, Cosmos, & self— transcend/go beyond human experience. Club Members George Ripley (minister)
Bronson Alcott (educator) Margaret Fuller (feminist)
Transcendentalism Transcendentalists sought to create religious consciousness--exhibit freedom & democracy of new nation. Way to God led through the self: contemplation of one’s own thought would lead one to a perception of the infinite. Emerson—central Transcendentalist contemplates his own mind
Thoreau—protégé of Emerson Search for the ecstatic experience in nature
Basic Premises: 1. Individual=spiritual center of universe
In an individual can be found the clue to nature, history & ultimately, the cosmos itself. Not a rejection of the existence of God, but a preference to explain an individual & the world in terms of an individual.
2. Structure of universe duplicates structure of individual self - all knowledge, therefore, begins with self-knowledge. (Similar to Aristotle's dictum "know thyself”) 3. Accepted the neo-Platonic idea of nature as a living mystery, full of signs/symbolic. 4. Belief that individual virtue & happiness depend upon self-realization
Transcendentalism Transcendentalism was a 1. Spiritual, 2. philosophical , and 3. literary movement and is located in the history of American Thought as: (a) Post-Unitarian& free thinking in religious spirituality (b) Kantian and idealistic in philosophy and (c) Romantic and individualistic in literature.
A Brief Chronology of Events 1832 Emerson resigns ministry of Unitarian Church-unable to administer holy communion. 1836 The annus mirabilis (year of wonder) of the movement Emerson published Nature ("gospel" of transcendentalism) George Ripley published Discourses on the Philosophy of Religion Bronson Alcott published Record of Conversions in the Gospel (classroom discussions in his Temple School, Boston--severe criticism)
Transcendental Club met for 1st time.
1837 Emerson delivers his Phi Beta Kappa address on "The American Scholar" at Harvard (James Russell Lowell called "an event without former parallel in our literary annals.”) http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap4/4intro.html
A Brief Chronology of Events 1838 Emerson delivers his Divinity School Address at Harvard which touched off a great storm in religious circles. 1840 Founding of the Dial, a Transcendental magazine, 1841 George Ripley's Brook Farm - a utopian experiment. Hawthorne wrote The Blithedale Romance based upon experience there. 1842 Alcott's utopian experiment at Fruitlands. 1845 Thoreau goes to live at Walden Pond. 1846 Thoreau is put in jail for his refusal to pay poll tax. 1850 Passage of the Fugitive Slave Act. Transcendentalists increasingly involved in abolition of slavery. 1855 Walt Whitman publishes his Leaves of Grass. 1859 Charles Darwin's Origin of Species is published. 1862 Henry David Thoreau dies.
Key Concepts & Connections Well educated people--live in the decades before American Civil War & national division that it reflected & helped to create. Mostly New Englanders, around Boston, attempt to create a uniquely American body of literature. Time for literary independence--deliberately went about creating literature, essays, novels, philosophy, poetry & other writing that are clearly different from anything from England, France, Germany, or any European nation.
Connections · Slavery With the end of slavery came unity betw. the races after a long period of time · Independence from England With independence came new religion · American Civil War With the war came unity betw. the states after a long period of time · Trends in Transcendentalism brought about unity, nature, and religion, and creative expression. http://aplanguagecommunity.wikispaces.com/Transcendentalism
5 Major Writers of the Renaissance Coming off of the Romantic Period Thoreau—elevating the humdrum to the level of meditative bliss Poe—emotion of love (lost love) is a catalyst to terror Hawthorne—Guilt/sin…male/female relationships Melville—obsession.
3 fictional writers—none embraced Transcendentalism, but all 3 showed its influence
Poe (Anxiety)—expressed scorn for the movement, but an essay concludes that God is reflected in the human mind.
Hawthorne (Guilt)—lived in a utopian community (Brook Farm)
Melville—mocked movement, but Ahab comes close to the Transcendental experience
Emerson, “Nature” Emerson’s beliefs: 1. God is always near to us and reveals Himself everywhere and at all times. 2. w/in the individual lies a divinity that allows human intuition to behold God’s spirit in nature. 3. Correspondence betw. Natural law and moral law—w/intuition, humans can see God’s laws.
Emerson, “Nature” Paradoxes, p. 191 1. I am not solitary while I read and write, though nobody is with me. 2. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe w/ their admonishing smile. 3. Most persons do not see the sun. 4. I am glad to the brink of fear What is the paradox and what does Emerson mean?
Emerson, “Nature” “To speak truly, few adults can see nature”(191) ?--Do you agree with this statement?
“Standing on the bare ground—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or parcel of God. ?--Do you find this statement contradictory?
Emerson, “Nature” Emerson’s view of nature was at least partly the result of his background—upper class. ?--Why would this be?
Emerson, “Self-Reliance” Individualism=American character— nonconformity and self-reliance in the individual mind calls upon us to express ourselves strongly. ?--What does Emerson mean by “this sculpture in the memory”? (194). “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represent.” ?--Do you agree that people only half express themselves? What examples can you cite?
Emerson, “Self Reliance” “Accept the place the divine Providence has found for you; the society of your contemporaries, the connection of events” (194). “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines” (194). ?--What is Emerson’s metaphor in each of these quotes?
Emerson, “Concord Hymn” Occasional poetry 1st stanza—recalls events of April 1775 and praises heroic spirit of “embattled farmers” 2nd stanza—both foe and conqueror are dead and that the bridge is now gone. 3rd stanza—Occasion=dedication of a stone marker to the memory of these men of Concord 4th Stanza—asks God to see that time and nature protect the marker
Emerson, “Concord Hymn” Scan the poem using these 3 areas… Rhythm
By the rude bridge that arched the flood Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled stood world Rhyme
Emerson, “Concord Hymn” Scan the poem using these 3 areas… Rhythm
By the rude bridge that arched the flood Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled stood world Rhyme
Transcendentalism Mini Experience SILENCE…this is the #1 rule and MUST be followed! SILENCE will add to the experience (and allow us to continue this assignment in the future).
Bring your notebook to the courtyard and find a small area to describe in DETAIL. Could be a… 1’x1’ square of the ground Man-made object—bench, marker, walkway, building Natural area—pond (although man-made), tree, nest, tall grass… (Don’t be an idiot & step on the pond! Not frozen!) When I give you the signal, come back to the room in
SILENCE (after wiping your feet on towels)!
Transcendentalism Mini Experience How did SILENCE add to your experience? What did you see? What did you hear? What did you feel—physically and emotionally? For homework, please write a description of your experience… (Type it or write it out neatly and decorate page to fit your writing.) HAIKU (5 syllables/7 syllables/5 syllables) Sonnet (English) 3 quatrains of alternating rhyme and a couplet: a b a b / c d c d / e f e f / g g Prose
Thoreau, “Walden” ?--What are Thoreau’s facts of life? Constant allusions to Greek Myth--Troy, Iliad Metaphorical style—Loons and hunters, red ants and black ants Expository: series of main ideas supported by details, such as facts, examples, and stats Think about the ex. he uses for : Thoreau’s house did not cost much money. People can grow enough food for themselves on a small piece of land.
Thoreau, “Walden” From “Economy” Construction of house and garden-”stripped down lifestyle” ?--Imagine that the avg. contemporary homeowner presents, alongside Thoreau’s, a list of his/her expenses for home improvement during a year. Which one would grab us more? Why should there be such emotional difference betw. 2 simple lists? (211) ?--Why does Thoreau believe that he did better w/ his small profit than any other farmer in Concord? (211)
From “Where I Lived and What I Lived For” Live “deliberately” and “front only the essential facts of life” “Simplify, simplify” one of Thoreau’s most famous aphorisms (212) From “Solitude: Minds rather than space is what separated people. ?—Do you agree? From “The Bean-Field” describes his planting and hoeing on beans and his battle against weeks, using Greek Myth “I was determined to know beans” (He doesn’t know beans about it.)
Thoreau, “Walden” From “Brute Neighbors” Human warfare//black ants vs. red ants and the loons vs. hunters ?--Are Thoreau’s sympathies with the Loon or the hunter? How can you tell?
Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” Th. Was arrested because he refused, on principle, to pay a pay to the state because he was opposed to the gov’t support of slavery.” ?--What leaders in history have used the idea of civil disobedience? Would Th’s idea “That gov’t is best which governs not at all” be workable in a complex society? (221) “The only obligation which I have a right to assume, is to do at any time what I think right…” How can a balance be created betw. The will of the maj. And the rights of the min.? What would happen if we did what we thought was right? (221)
Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” Last par. On p. 221—Th. Makes a distinction: We don’t have to oppose wrongdoing actively, but we have to engage in it. ?--How does this fit in with other aspects of his personality you know about? ?--What one person symbolizes the gov’t for Th.? (222) The idea that a single righteous person, or a small group of such person, can redeem a whole society has strong Biblical echoes.
Thoreau, “Resistance to Civil Government” P. 223 last par. Of 1st column—Th. Is saying that his one night in jail, while not changind either him or the town physically, has changed his was of seeing. P 223 last sent.—irony ?--What does the unawareness regarding a jail say about Th’s townspeople? Last par. Is the central exposition of Th’s political ideas in this essay… “The progress from an absolute to a limited monarchy…” “There will never be a really free and enlightened state…”
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) American poet, critic, short story writer
Genres of horror & science fiction considered father of modern detective story. Psychologically thrilling tales examining depths of human psyche Own life marred by tragedy--parents died before 3 darkly passionate sensibilities—tormented & sometimes neurotic obsession w/ death & violence & appreciation for beautiful yet tragic life mysteries. Biography written by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Edgar Poe born on 19 January 1809 in Boston, MA
Son of actors Elizabeth Hopkins & David Poe After death of parents Edgar was taken in by Frances & John Allan, wealthy merchant in Richmond, VA. 1820, attended U. of Virginia & studied Latin & poetry Estranged from foster father after accumulating gambling debts. Unable to pay debts or support himself, left school & enlisted in US Army for 2 yrs.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) 1827 “Dreams” 1st appeared in Baltimore North American & 1st book Tamerlane & Other Poems published at own expense. Poe enlisted in West Point— dismissed a year later. moved to Baltimore to live w/aunt Maria Clemm, mother of Virginia Clemm-became his wife at 13.
1835 became editor & contributor of Southern Literary Messenger-start of career as respected critic & essayist.
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Virginia & Edgar married-Richmond 1836, moved to NYC.
Poe’s only completed novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym published in 1838. Published Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840) included what some consider the 1st detective story “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” The Raven and Other Poems (1845) gained attention at home & abroad“The Raven” “Eulalie” & “To Helen”
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Virginia died in 1847.
Poe turned to alcohol more frequently & displayed increasingly erratic behavior. 1 yr later became engaged to teenage Richmond sweetheart, Elmira Royster.
1849 embarked on tour of poetry readings & lecturing, hoping to raise funds to start The Stylus magazine
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) Conflicting accounts of last days & cause of death: Died from alcoholism, murdered, various diseases attributed Most say he was found unconscious in street & admitted to Washington College Hospital, Baltimore Died 7 October 1849-buried in unmarked grave in Old Westminster Burying Ground, Baltimore.
On this original site now stands a stone with a carving of a raven & the inscription: Quoth the Raven, Nevermore Original Burial Place of Edgar Allan Poe From October 9, 1849 Until November 17, 1875
The mysterious Poe Toaster visits Poe’s grave on his birthdays & leaves a bottle of cognac & 3 roses.
Poe “The Masque of the Red Death” Rhythm/Meter, end rhyme Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary Weary Lore Tapping More More Door Prince Prospero & guests-names & who they think they are? Significant Techniques: unity of effect, tone, allegory, colors, life/death images Prince Prospero’s palace, probably in southern Europe in 16th or 17th C. Death-inescapable regardless of stature in society
The Fall of the House of Usher Edgar Allan Poe •1st published in 1839 in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine •Themes of sanity, death, and fate
Fall of the House of Usher Department of Diagnostic Medicine 1. Doctor Groups 2. List of symptoms of Roderick & possibly Madeline 3. Look up symptoms & gather possible diagnosis (Limit 2 texts per group at one time!)
4. Decide on a diagnosis and possible causes…
Suggested passages for review: P. 236—Family Tree P. 240—Poem “The Haunted Palace” P. 241—What does Roderick think?
Writing Style Atmospheric language=1st paragraph Imagery to describe The House of Usher & surroundings
Antiquated & poetic diction even in Poe’s time Poe relies on description rather than dramatization— telling us rather than showing us what Roderick is like…why? The narrator, Roderick Usher, Madeline Usher
1st person narration Poe anticipates abstract painting more than ½ C. before it appears on any real canvas. p. 240
Family=House is an allegory p. 240 Usher family end of the line=end of the house Roderick believes house to be alive and destroying him and his family p.241 Line of descent? Each generation of Ushers has only one son to carry on the family name… p.236
Narrator falls prey to Roderick’s madness p.242
Pathetic fallacy p. 243 Premature burial p. 245 Does Roderick make a mistake?
Poe, “Fall of the House of Usher” “The Haunted Palace” What happened to the palace? What was the connection betw. palace & family?
Could place be a symbol for family who lives there? How could the type of dwelling give insight into the character of the inhabitants? What kinds of things could happen to a family to take such a drastic turn?
Poem parallels what happens in the story
Poe, “Fall of the House of Usher” How do senses establish tone? Provide examples of physical structures, relationships, and stories that failed due to faulty foundations.
How is a strong foundation necessary for both construction projects and for stories and works of literature?
Poe, “The Raven” Compare to Simpson’s version Background—
1st bird was an owl (Athena—wisdom) Similar to Dicken’s Barnaby Rudge’s raven Lenore—Elmyra Royster or Virginia Clemm Paid $10 in 1/29/1848 in NY Evening Post 1929 sold at auction for $100,000
Rhythm—trochaic octometer Rhyme—ababbb Significant Techniques Alliteration, rhyme, repetition, tone, symbolism, narrative verse, dashes
Herman Melville 1819-1891 in NYC Genres: Short stories, novels, poetry, adventure fiction Gathered fame, especially for Moby-Dick--one of the few American books recognized as a world classic overshadowed considerable achievement of his other works Much of what he wrote was autobiographical— psychological & intellectual history w/his responses to 19 C. American culture.
Moby-Dick less successful when published, began to gather fame a generation after death & today recognized as work of genius.
Herman Melville Father from colorful & substantial Boston family. Died in 1832 of sudden illness--included mental collapse, & left widow in poverty-dependent upon well-off kin.
Father's death brought end to his childhood. At 12 forced to leave Albany Academy to work as bank clerk. Would educate himself & drift from 1 thing to another. Tried going west-1840 was back in NY but still unsettled. Went to sea. Narratives of wanderings in Polynesia & life on whaling ships, in the merchant marine, & US Navy. After returning to land, books grew to be inside narratives, the voyages of a mental traveler.
Herman Melville Melville admirer of Hawthorne. Like Shakespeare, Hawthorne "probes the very axis of reality," & knew "the great Art of Telling the Truth." Hawthorne’s grasp of Puritanism awed Melville. Began an important literary friendship.
1866 Melville began working at customhouse in NY. The customhouse was notoriously corrupt Called his "silent period," phrase also applied to similar time in Hawthorne’s life.
Hawthorne emerged from customhouse to take his place in literary community; Melville withdrew into it.
Herman Melville Great achievement of Melville's later years, Billy Budd Origins-controversial Somers case-Melville's cousin Lieutenant Gansevoort-member of ad hoc officers' council advised hanging at sea a midshipman accused of mutiny whose memorable parting words were "God bless the flag.“ Unfinished when he died in September 1891 of heart failure
Few respectful obituaries written-outlived his renown.
1920s remarkable new interest in Melville's works growing interest in myth & psychology (Freud) disillusion & questioning following WWI national maturity-reexamination of literary past.
Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener” 1st published anonymously in 1853 in Nov. & Dec. issues of Putnam’s Monthly Reprinted in 1856 in The Piazza Tales Not again until 1922 Melville had many relatives who might have been the model for the attorney—narrator Several allusions to actual persons, places, & events John Jacob Astor Murder of Samuel Adams by John C. Colt in 1842 Streets of the city & prison known as the Tombs
Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener” 20th C. shift in criticism from Bartleby to his employer who is trying to come to terms w/moral & ethical problem posed by the scrivener’s refusal to work manages to reveal more of his own character to the reader than he does that of Bartleby.
Central symbol=“dead brick wall” duplicated in The Tombs