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The Impact Of Transcendentalism And Romanticism On The Development Of Literature In 19th Century

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Transcendentalism and Romanticism were two movements that were very influential to the authors during the 19th century. This era helped authors express prevalent ideas and beliefs during this time. Transcendentalism was based on individualism and focusing on yourself and by focusing on bettering one’s self and practicing individuality will shape your life into the life you think you deserve. Romantics believed in connection with nature, interconnection, and peace within one’s self. Once you get a connection with nature, the connection with God will come as an internal force. Although, Transcendentalists believed God was an external force. Romanticism, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is defined as “a literary movement (as in early 19th century Europe) marked especially by an emphasis on the imagination and emotions and by the use of autobiographical material.” While transcendentalists had a strongly believed in God and the divinity, Romantics on the other hand favored more upon the nature of emotions and freedoms. The respect for nature existed throughout both movements. Based upon the works that we have read in class by Walt Whitman, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, the movements of both Romanticism and Transcendentalism has influenced the ideas their writings.

Walt Whitman’s audacious poetry voided the overwhelming ideas of his time. Transcendentalism was sought as the foundation through the majority of his writing. Throughout his writings Whitman creates this new trinity of god, humanity and nature and utilizes them mutually with one another throughout his writings. He created a nature where individuals didn’t have to seek God for answers or explanations. Whitman thought everything around him was for him and how his life is going is the what he deserved. He felt as though all aspects of nature had a purpose behind presence and no part could be greater than each part in light of the fact that the parts were always dealing with benefit of the entirety. According to Whitman in “Song of Myself”’, everything had a purpose behind their reality, ‘They are but parts, any thing is but a part.’

Frederick Douglass was born into slavery around 1817, but eventually moved to the north and became involved within the abolitionist movement as a writer. Throughout his writings, Frederick Douglass sought characteristics as a transcendentalist. Douglass believed in self-development and self-reliance as this is a characteristic of transcendentalists. After his master’s wife taught him the alphabet and small words before her husband forbade her from teaching him, he saw that learning meant freedom, so he decided to learn to read at any cost. His journey as a slave was described as not only self-reliant but also a result of practicing individualism as he progressed in attaining freedom and learning to read and write. Being literate would help him understand his surroundings better so attaining freedom could be easier. Because Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave was written by Frederick Douglass himself, the story he told was emotional and raw, so the audience got the true feel. His actions towards his freedom and liberty made me characterize him as a transcendentalist. His relationship with God also added on to the characteristics of him being a transcendentalist as they favored God. Along with Frederick Douglass being a Transcendentalist he is also considered a Realist. Realism was a literary era that started in the nineteenth century. The idea of realism was to push the real events of life as opposed to those that were envisioned or made up. Realists were authors who expounded on genuine individuals in genuine circumstances, a resistance to sentimental writing. Douglass’s story is the accurate meaning of Realism – the actual events of life. There were numerous risks experiences with expounding on his slave life and few individuals had the capacity or strength to do it. As in the definition, Douglass expounded on his encounters as a slave and the things he suffered all through being a slave and endeavoring to accomplish opportunity.

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Harriet Beecher Stowe was seemingly against slavery while never really experiencing being a slave yet being a white lady who was brought up in a Puritan culture. She learned about slavery from stories that she overheard as a child mostly from her parents who were abolitionists. Stowe expressed ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ to point out the issue of the brutalities of slavery. Stowe had no experience in being a slave and enduring the brutalities yet wrote to make this an exact portrayal of slave life. Her story is more objective concerning slave life than Fredrick Douglass’ account versus Douglass’ narrative was progressively subjective, as being a slave himself and he endured physical just as mental anguish from his encounters. Douglass shared progressively realistic and disturbing subtleties in his story. He shared everything about could review of the absurd cruelties that he had both seen others experience and suffered himself. Both Stowe and Douglass communicated their frustration for those ignorant of the true meaning of slavery. In their works, they both show their frustration for individuals who call themselves Christian and keep on taking part in parts of slavery. Stowe enlivened the truth of the lives of slaves, which might possibly haven’t been acknowledged by most of slaveholders.

Herman Melville was born in New York in 1819. Melville importantly influenced the Romantic movement as his well-known novel is Moby Dick. Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick used elements of nature, individualism, imagination, and freedom to tell a story of whalers on a ship in attempt to kill an albino whale who took the leg of the captain. Throughout the novel, the whalers were chasing the whale. Melville used the whale as a representation of God as romantics favored God. My analysis of Moby Dick influences my reasonings of Herman Melville being a Romantic.

Similarly, if these creators didn’t distribute their works, we wouldn’t have distinctive records to depend on today with the goal that we could shape our very own points of view and sentiments on critical occasions ever. Additionally, Romanticism and Transcendentalism are both one of a kind developments in scholarly history since they demonstrate that happening occasions impact what individuals expound on, and what individuals expound on can likewise impact how others see those equivalent occasions.

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The Impact Of Transcendentalism And Romanticism On The Development Of Literature In 19th Century. (2021, August 06). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2022, from
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