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Historia de la literatura 1

American Renaissance, romanticism


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 Gods 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 2
American Renaissance, romanticism
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 (thats 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 soundpossibly
hallucinatoryof 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 lifes 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.