American Romanticism

The literary movement known as American Romanticism can be traced back to August 31, 1837, when Waldo Emerson addressed the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard College.His words became known as dazzling spell of creative energy that produced some of the most esteemed works of all time: Melville's Moby Dick, Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Emerson, Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau define American Romanticism through transcendentalism, Nature, and the individual in American Romanticism. American Romantics were undoubtedly influenced by the dramatic political and social changes taking place in the early nineteenth century. The literature of American Romanticism is considered thefirst illustration of American literary genius.
American Romanticism is expressed in a belief of self-reliance, and being humanistic.Writers associated with the romantic period matured and worked in a constantly growing nation whose conflicts where internal.The chief characteristics of the American Romantic Movement are vitality and spring time freshness.One must remember that during this movement another American spring was taking place; F.O. Matthiessen notably put it, as an "American Renaissance."According to McDowell, the romantic writers sought self-reliance as individuals an as members of a newly independent nation."We will walk with our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak with our own minds."In these words Ralph Waldo Emerson gave voice to the persuasive self reliance of the Romantic Generation.Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville and Whitman are unified by a common interest in the problems of humanity.These writers sought to explain the world by gaining a better understanding of man himself.
Transcendentalism was a religious and intellectual movement that was a revolt


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