Zoe Lussier - Background Information on American Romanticisim



Northeastern University *

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Arts Humanities


Jan 9, 2024





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Background information on Romanticism (Pages 139-150) Carefully read p. 139 - 150, then answer the questions that follow. Use an alternative, readable color for your answers. p. 139-142 - The Pattern of the Journey 1. To Rationalists, the city was a place to find success and self-realization. 2. To Romantic writers, the city was often a place of moral ambiguity and of corruption and death. 3. The characteristic Romantic journey is to the countryside. And whatever the destination, it was a flight both from something and to something. 4. TWO-PART QUESTION: What is the first truly popular professional writer best known for? Name the Writer and the character. Washington Irving 5. American Romanticism can be best described as a journey away from the corruption of civilization and the limits of rational thought, and toward the integrity of nature and the freedom of imagination. p. 142-143 - The City, Grim and Gray (in the box) 6. When were the first tenements built in NYC? 1830s 7. Define "tenement". A room or a set of rooms forming a separate residence within a house or block of apartments. 8. How many people might share a bathtub? 400 families 9. Why were the streets so foul? Horse droppings, and horses rotting on the street due to being overworked. 10. What epidemic killed an average of 100 people per day in 1832? Cholera epidemic 11. Regarding the children - a. How many children were homeless? 20,000 b. What was their average life expectancy (if they were lucky)? 20 years old, if they were lucky.
12. Describe the crime and violence. Waterfront gangs, 15,000 sailors robbed in just a year, riots, and burning down buildings. 13. In 1840, there was one bright spot of hope - talk of building a huge, expensive city park for "health and recreation". a. Whose idea was it to build this park? William Cullen Bryants b. When was it finally built? 1876 p. 143-144 - The Romantic Sensibility: Celebrating the Imagination 14. Romanticism developed in part as a reaction to rationalism. 15. To the Romantic mind, poetry was the highest and most sublime embodiment of the imagination. 16. The Romantics wanted to rise above (or escape from) " dull realities" to a realm of higher truth. 17. Why did America seem "an unlikely transplant" for the Gothic novel? America seemed like “an unlikely transplant” for the Gothic novel because they had seen no places old enough to have accumulated a contingent of ghosts or to reek of the decay of ages. 18. In a typical Romantic poem, the speaker sees a commonplace object or event. Something about this commonplace object brings the speaker to some important, deeply felt insight. 19. American Romanticism took two roads on the journey to understanding higher truths. One road led to the exploration of the past and of exotic, even supernatural, realms.; the other road led to the contemplation of the natural world. p. 146 - The American Novel and the Wilderness Experience 20. American novelists discovered that the subject matter available in America was very different from the subjects available to European writers. 21. The development of the American novel coincided with what three things (p. 146)? The development of the American novel coincided with westward expansion, with the growth of a nationalist spirit, and with the rapid spread of cities. p. 147. A New Kind of Hero 22. Most Europeans had an image of the American as unsophisticated and uncivilized. 23. What are the characteristics of the Romantic hero?
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