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Alongside the religious fervor during this time, transcendentalists advocated a more direct knowledge of the self and an emphasis on individualism.The writers and thinkers devoted to transcendentalism, as well as the reactions against it, created a trove of writings, an outpouring that became what has now been termed the “American Renaissance.” Many writers were drawn to transcendentalism, and they started to express its ideas through new stories, poems, essays, and articles.
Sometimes called the “American Renaissance” (a term coined by the scholar F. Matthiessen), this period encompasses (approximately) the 1820s to the dawn of the Civil War, and it has been closely identified with American romanticism and transcendentalism.
Often considered a movement centered in New England, the American Renaissance was inspired in part by a new focus on humanism as a way to move from Calvinism.
Romantic literature was personal and intense; it portrayed more emotion than ever seen in neoclassical literature.
America’s preoccupation with freedom became a great source of motivation for Romantic writers, as many were delighted in free expression and emotion without fear of ridicule and controversy.
Literary nationalists at this time were calling for a movement that would develop a unique American literary style to distinguish American literature from British literature.
The American Renaissance is characterized by renewed national self-confidence and a feeling that the United States was the heir to Greek democracy, Roman law, and Renaissance humanism.Herman Melville’s novel emphasized the perils of individual obsession by telling the tale of Captain Ahab’s single-minded quest to kill a white whale, Moby Dick, which had destroyed Ahab’s original ship and caused him to lose one of his legs.Edgar Allan Poe, a popular author, critic, and poet, decried, “the so-called poetry of the so-called transcendentalists.” These American writers who questioned transcendentalism illustrate the underlying tension between individualism and conformity in American life.Walt Whitman also added to the transcendentalist movement, most notably with his 1855 publication of twelve poems, entitled which celebrated the subjective experience of the individual.One of the poems, “Song of Myself,” emphasized individualism, which for Whitman, was a goal achieved by uniting the individual with all other people through a transcendent bond. Some critics took issue with transcendentalism’s emphasis on rampant individualism by pointing out the destructive consequences of compulsive human behavior.Summarize the central commitments of American Romanticism century.Like the Europeans, the American Romantics demonstrated a high level of moral enthusiasm, commitment to individualism and the unfolding of the self, an emphasis on intuitive perception, and the assumption that the natural world was inherently good while human society was filled with corruption.The mid-nineteenth century often has been considered an “American Renaissance” due to the number and quality of literary works produced.Identify the major works of literature produced during the mid-nineteenth century “American Renaissance” During the mid-nineteenth century, many American literary masterpieces were produced.The Romantic movement in America was widely popular and influenced American writers such as James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving.Novels, short stories, and poems replaced the sermons and manifestos of earlier days.