A Growing Nation 1820-1865 •Before 1800 American writers were not widely read. \ •This began to change as American writers began to define the American voice. •As America grew as a nation, people called for a national literature. •The primary theme of American writing was the quest of the individual to define himself/herself. •The characteristic journey of the 19th century is the journey away from the town or city to the Romantic Literature • Romanticism was an artistic movement that dominated Europe and America in the 19th century. • Romanticism valued imagination and intuition over reason and fact. Focus on superstition, the past, the mysteries of nature. • In ROMANTIC literature, the city was associated with moral ambiguity, corruption, and death. • The countryside (and nature) became associated with independence, moral certainty, and health. • The idea of the American frontier took on great significance in American literature as it set it apart from European topics. Washington Irving 1783-1859 America’s first truly popular professional writer. He was one of the first American Romantics. He is considered one of the “inventors” of the modern short story. Born in New York City Named after George Washington (met him in a shop in NYC) when he was a child. Showed a genius for creating comic, fictional narrators. Irving cont. 1809--Wrote A History of New York from the Beginning of the World to the End of the Dutch Dynasty. ◦ This work was a hoax narrated by an unreliable narrator named Diederich Knickerbocker. The work’s success established him as a satirist. Diederich Knickerbocker • At 21 visited Europe—wrote accounts re: his travels. Loved the “Old World.” • While in Europe (1815-1832) he read German Romantics. • Wrote stories based on German folk tales. • Wrote “The Devil and Tom Walker,” based on a German folk tale. • “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” were both based on German folktales but were distinctly American--set in rural New York—Hudson Valley • “Rip” and “Legend” were published in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon (Crayon was another comic voice.) • The Sketch Book brought him international success. • Irving borrowed from Europe but established a new voice for the new nation. • Irving spent the final years of his life at “Sunnyside,” his farmhouse in Tarrytown, NY. • As schoolboys, Hawthorne and Longfellow were inspired by the success of The Sketch Book. “The Devil and Tom Walker” The story is based on the legend of Faust or Faustus, a scholar who sells his soul to the Devil. The legend is based on an actual magician who lived in the area of northern Germany in the fifteenth century. Faust Faustian characters/themes appear in many works of literature. Can you think of one? “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” Set in Tarrytown, NY. A Yankee school teacher meets “the Headless Horseman.” “Rip Van Winkle” -Set in a rural town in New York. -Rip escapes his abusive wife, and on his journey into the countryside, he falls asleep for 20 years. -He awakens after the Revolutionary War, a “free” man in more ways than one. -His awakening parallels America’s awakening as a new nation. -He is a comic “counterhero,”an unambitious do-nothing who makes success out of failure. William Cullen Bryant 1794-1878 Born in western Mass. Wrote “Thanatopsis” as a teenager. Published Poems in 1821 (27 years old) Made him famous Moved to NYC—became magazine and newspaper editor/owner Helped form Republican Party; supported Lincoln Campaigned to create Central Park Translated The Iliad and The Odyssey in his 70s Bryant’s Legacy Mourned as a great poet and editor. First American poet to receive worldwide critical acclaim. Led the Romantic Movement in America. Discerned moral lessons and a divine presence in the American landscape. Used his role as journalist to advocate for human rights and personal freedoms– advocated for women’s rights; fierce foe of slavery. James Fenimore Cooper 1789-1851 America’s first great novelist (wrote 32 novels plus many other books) He developed the American adventure tale as a new literary mode. Frontier was a uniquely American setting. Natty Bumppo (Hawkeye) from the Leatherstocking series is one the most memorable and imitated heroes in American fiction. Heroic elements: Brave, fautless hero, loyal Indian companion, encounters physical danger as a test of his prowess, hair-breadth rescues Cooper’s Legacy Created a uniquely American form of literature. Created the American Romantic hero upon which future heroes were based. Depicted close friendship between a white man and an Indian. Lamented the suffering of the Mohicans, a tribe described as highly moral and ethical. While Mark Twain criticized Cooper’s writing, the Leatherstocking novels are thought to have had the most influence on Huckleberry Finn. The Leatherstocking Series Consists of 5 novels. They tell story of frontiersman Natty Bumppo (Hawkeye) and his Indian friend Chingachgook. Common plot elements: guiding women through wilderness, threat of Indian attack, Chingachgook and Natty’s prowess, treacherous characters, etc. The Pioneers (1823)—written first—fourth chronologically in terms of plot—takes place The Last of the Mohicans (1826) (Takes place 1757—second novel in plot--during French The Prairie (1827) (Takes place 1804 after Louisiana Purchase—setting—last novel in plot—Natty= The The Pathfinder (1840) (Takes place 1750s—NY, The Deerslayer (1841) (Takes place 1740-1745—NY—introduces young Natty. He is contrasted against 1793—NY frontier—Natty middle-aged, Chingachgook dies Indian War in NY—Natty and his friends rescue two sisters and escort them to their lt. colonel father at Fort William Henry. Tapper,” an old man, moves farther west to avoid the sound of trees begin cut down; helps pioneer family, dies.) Canada, third novel in series) white mean who want to take scalps. He considers this act unnatural for white men.) BOOK Last of the Mohicans Hawkeye is not a love interest. Hawkeye is a friend and contemporary to Chingachgook, not his adopted son. Uncas is protective of Cora. Duncan loves Alice. Hawkeye and Duncan respect each other. Magua tries to make Cora marry him to exact revenge on Munro. Cora is of mixed race. Cora dies, Col. Munro and Duncan live. Uncas dies. Hawkeye kills Magua. FILM •Hawkeye and Cora fall in love. •Hawkeye is portrayed as Chingachgook’s white son. •Uncas has feelings for Alice. •Duncan proposed to Cora. She refuses him. •Hawkeye and Duncan are enemies. •Alice dies, Cora lives, Col. Munro, and Duncan die. •Uncas dies. •Chingachgook kills Magua.