Individualism And Transcendentalism

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American Romanticism (1800 – 1860) began right after the end of the romantic movements in Europe. American Romanticism was a movement where literature can be summarized as focused on intuition, imagination, and individualism. Romantic writers saw themselves as revolting against the “Age of Reason.” They replaced reason with imagination / intuition, control with spontaneity, and social conformity with individuality. Authors such as William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, and Henry David Thoreau helped create a new identity for America and distance itself from Europe’s influence and traditions. The Romantic Period benefited from access to a wider audience as the cost of printing and distributing books decreased and more Americans could …show more content…
During this period, Edgar Allen Poe and Nathanial Hawthorne are given credit for the developing the short story. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau made significant contributions during the Transcendentalism Period (1836-1860) which was a sub-group of the Romanticism Period. The themes during this period were individualism, insight, inspiration, and intuition. Their writings reflected a belief that all of nature is symbolic and that God is present in every aspect of Nature. They believed that the more time an individual spends with Nature, the more they will understand their own self and soul. They took an optimistic view of the world where American Romantic literature can be identified by these characteristics: Individualism/ Imagination, Nature as a source of knowledge and/or spirituality, Common man as hero, Rejection of traditional authority, and Emotional intensity. Collection #2 featured a number of influential Romantic authors. William Cullen Bryant’s poem “Thanatopis” was his view of death and he wrote it as an encouragement for