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美國文學論文優秀作品欣賞《The review about the Literature of Romanticism》

時間:2012-05-22 14:42來源:www.liuxulw.com 作者:留學生論文 點擊:
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The review about the Literature of Romanticism

Ⅰ. Background
From the early 1800s to the civil war,American was a land of paradoxes, a land stirred by spiritual dreams and shaped by the realities of a growing materialism. the United States had begun to change into an industrial cause society, technology would bring vast material benefits and cause overwhelming social disorders. Americans had sought new liberties and new ideas in life and art, but conflicts of their society had culminated in a bloody civil war. In the first half of the nineteenth century the proportion of Americans who labored on farms declined as increasing members left the land to work in urban businesses and factories. New York became American’s largest city, supplanting Boston and Philadelphia as the economic and cultural capital of the nation. Though the first half of the century the pursuit of simplicity, utility, and perfection remained an American characteristic.
In the years preceding the Civil War relatively few volumes of imaginative literature were published in the United States. Most book were almanacs, schoolbooks, self-help manuals, or works on religion, medicine, or the law. Fewer than a dozen volumes of poetry were published annually. Fiction was a prime component of ladies’ magazines. Novels were increasingly popular, especially historical romances written by Europeans, most notably by “the monarch and master of modern fiction,” Sir Walter Scott. But as the century progressed, native American writers won increasing national and international fame. Washington Irving’s Sketch Book (1819-1820)became the first work by an American .writer to win financial success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ⅱ. The definition of Romanticism  
Romanticism is a movement prevailing the 19th century in Western World in literature. art music and philosophy beginning as a reaction and protest against the bondage of rules and customs of neo-classicism. It was marked and is always marked by a story reaction .It returned to nature and plain humanity for material. It brought about a renewed interest in medieval literature. It was also marked by sympathy for poor people and thus a deep understanding toward common people. It was a movement expression of indivdual orignality and different poets realized their variety. A dream of golden age is established against stern realities .Imagination is the key point.

Ⅲ. The Characteristics of the Romantic Literature
The main trends of thought of the literature of romanticism is Romanticism, Transcendentation, Anti-slavery. Transcendentation as a moral philosophy, transcendentalism was neither logical nor systematized. It exalted feeling over reason, individual expression over the restraints of law and custom. They believed in the transcendence of the “Oversoul”, an all-pervading power for goodness from which all things come and of which all things are a part Romanticism, attitude or intellectual orientation that characterized many works of literature, painting, music, architecture, criticism, and historiography in Western civilization over a period from the late 18th to the mid-19th century. Romanticism can be seen as a rejection of the precepts of order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality that typified Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in particular. It was also to some extent a reaction against the Enlightenment and against 18th-century rationalism and physical materialism in general. Romanticism emphasized the individual, the subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental.
Among the characteristic attitudes of Romanticism were the following: a deepened appreciation of the beauties of nature; a general exaltation of emotion over reason and of the senses over intellect; a turning in upon the self and a heightened examination of human personality and its moods and mental potentialities; a preoccupation with the genius, the hero, and the exceptional figure in general, and a focus on his passions and inner struggles; a new view of the artist as a supremely individual creator, whose creative spirit is more important than strict adherence to formal rules and traditional procedures; an emphasis upon imagination as a gateway to transcendent experience and spiritual truth; an obsessive interest in folk culture, national and ethnic cultural origins, and the medieval era; and a predilection for the exotic, the remote, the mysterious, the weird, the occult, the monstrous, the diseased, and even the satanic.

Ⅳ. Main writer and masterpiece
ⅰ.Washington Irving(1783-1851)
He was the Father of American Imaginative Literature; the Father of American Short Stories. He was the first great prose stylist of American romanticism familiar style.
 The apparent ease of his writing is not simply that of the gifted amateur; it results from his purposeful identification of his whole personality with what he wrote. He was urbane and worldly, yet humorous and gentle, his great and graceful style combine with American roots shaped his independent literary personality. He was the first great belletrist, writing always for pleasure, and to produce pleasure. In 1819-1820 ,his Sketch Book appeared the first modern short stories and the first great American juvenile literature to write good history and biography as literary entertainment. The most story of his Sketch Book is The Legend of Sleep Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. He introduced the familiar essay to America. His best-known stories awakened an interest in the life of American regions. In 1819, A History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker a rollicking burlesque of a current serious history of the early Dutch settlers, has become a classic of humor.
 Bracebridge Hall followed in 1822;then he first went to Germany in pursuit of an interest in German romanticism, which flavored the Tales of Traveller(1824),  in Paris he with John Howard Payne wrote the brilliant social comedy Charles the Second or The Merry Monarch.
A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus(1828); A Chronicle of the Conquest of Grandada(1829); Voyages and Discoveries of  the Companions of Columbus(1831) ; a famous volume of stories and sketches—The Alhambra(1832) and Legends of the Conquest of Spain (1835) and so on.

 ⅱ. James Fenimore Cooper(1789-1851)
He was the first important American novelist began his literary career on a dare. In 1821,The Spy was successful, it was a rousing tale about espionage against the British during the Revolutionary War .Cooper launched two kinds of immensely popular stories: the sea adventure tale, and the frontier saga. The Pilot is the best of his many sea romances(1824). He wrote the first official history of the U.S. Navy in 1839. His frontier stories Leather Stocking Tales including five novels: The Deerslayer; The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, The Pioneers, The Prairie. Allan Nevins calls these five novels the nearest approach yet to an American epic. with a vast group of supporting characters, virtuous or villainous, Cooper made the American conscious of his past, and made the European conscious of American. And the Textbooks works is The Last of The Mohicans

ⅲ.Edgar Allan Poe(1809-1849)
Poe was born in Boston. He was the Father of Modern Short Stories; the Father of Detective Story; and the Father of Psychoanalytic Critism. He was the jingle man. He won a contest with his story “Ms. Found in a Bottle” .Then he got a job as editor with the Southern Literary Messenger in 1833. He showed his true talents as an editor, a poet, a literary critic, and a writer of fiction. And he also issued The Fall of the House of Usher. In 1840, His first collection of short stories Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. The Raven was published as the title poem of a collection in 1845. In Europe, he was hailed as a pioneer in poetic and fictional techniques. His influence was especially strong on many French writers. The most famous works were To Helen; The Raven; Annabel Lee; The Fall of the House of Usher

ⅳ. Ralph Waldo Emerson(1803-1882)
He was responsible for bringing Transcendentalism to New England and was recognized throughout his life as the leader of the movement. He believed above all in individualism, independence of mind and self-reliance. He admired courage, he was not afraid of changing or clashing ideas. Like many original minds, he was often several jumps ahead of what his followers thought was his position or philosophy. He was one of the most influential American thinkers, yet he had no elaborate, formal system of thought and he never attempted to create one. Emerson believed above all in individualism, independence of mind, and self-reliance. In 1836,he issued the first book Nature , which met with a mild reception. However , two speeches in the next two years, The American Scholar and The Divinity School Address ,made him famous. Many of his lectures were later distilled into his famous Essays. Among his most important works are Representative Men (1850)and English Traits (1856).His Poem appeared in 1847. In his day, Emerson’s poems were criticized for their lack of form and polish. In recent years, hover, his poetry has received high praise.
<标题>  His harsh rhythms and striking images appeal to many modern readers as artful techniques. His prose style is sometimes as highly individual as his poetry. Many of his essays were put together from his journal entries, speeches, and random notes, and they are often somewhat disorganized. Yet his skill in polishing each sentence into a striking thought makes his writing memorable. One of his great statements was in The American Scholar. That title is now carried by one of the finest magazines in American. Oliver Wendell Holmes called the speech “our intellectual Declaration of Independence”. He is the world ’s eye. He is the world’s heart.

ⅴ. Henry David Thoreau(1817-1862)
   He was Emerson’s truest disciple, who put into practice many of Emerson’s theories. Walden, the superb book came out of his two-year’s residence at Walden Pond. He  explained many of the beliefs that led him to try this kind of life. He thought it better for a man to work one day a week and the rest of the week could be devoted to thought. For Thoreau, as for Emerson, self-reliance and independence of mind ranked above all each should find out his own way of living. In 1849, From his experience in jail came his famous essay” Civil Disobedience”, which stated Thoreau’s belief that no man should violate his conscience at the command of a government. His famous book is Walden Where I Lived, and What I Lived For

  ⅵ. Nathaniel Hawthorne(1804-1864)
The House of the Seven Gables deals with the effects of a curse, and though the tale itself is fiction, the germ of the story sprang from the author’s family history. Hawthorne gathered his material by observing and listening to others whose talk was filled with New England Lore, legend, and superstition. His famous book is The Scarlet Letter.

Hawthorne’s unique gift was for the creation of strongly symbolic stories which touch the deepest roots of man’s moral nature. The finest example is the recreation of Puritan Boston, “The Scarlet Letter”. In this novel each word, image, and event works toward a single effect. It is a complex story of guilt, its effects upon various persons, and how deliverance is obtained for some of them. His ability to create vivid and symbolic images that embody great moral questions appear strongly in his short stories. It was Hawthorne’s ability to make a story exist in its own right but at the same time appear as a moral symbol. Hawthorne shares with Edgar Allan Poe the distinction of advancing the art of the short story, giving to the form qualities that are uniquely American. To Hawthorne and Melville, however, the telling of a tale was a way of inquiring into the meaning of life. His stories also have The Blithedale Romance(1852); splendid stories called Mosses from an Old Manse(1846); The Marble Faun(1860)
ⅶ. Herman Melville(1819-1891)
Moby Dick, a tremendous chronicle of a whaling voyage in pursuit of a seemingly supernatural white whale. The book is steeped in symbolism, another strong appeal to readers of his century. In 1846, Typee became known as the “man who lived among cannibals”. The book was basically factual but was no doubt elaborated somewhat and built up from Melville’s reading as well as his experience. Equally successful was a sequel, Omoo(1847),about his adventures on Tahiti and other island. Later Melville based Bedburn(1849) on his first voyage to England, and White-Jacket(1850) on his brief career in the navy. He drew upon his naval experience again for Billy Budd(1891).
He has two other philosophical novels Mardi, Pierre. two celebrated short novels Benito Cereno and Billy Budd. The story uses a ship as symbol of society and searchingly examines the problems of good and evil. Ahab’s ship was like a world in miniature with characters from all walks of life.
ⅷ. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow(1807-1882)
Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, on February 27,1807 and died on March 24,1882 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the most beloved American poet of his time. His main books are Longfellow’s first collection of poems entitled Voices of the Night(1838); Hyperion” the prose romance(1839) ; Ballads and other Poems(1841); Poems on Slavery(1842); Evangeline(1847); Song of Hiawath(1855); The Courtship of Miles Standish(1858
<标题> After his death, he became the only American to be honored with a bust in the Poet’s corner of Westminster Abbey. The gentleness, sweetness, and purity for which his poetry was popular during his lifetime.

Ⅴ.Summary
<标题>   From the end of the 18th century to the outbreak of he Civil War. It started with the publication of Washington Irving’s The Sketch Book and ended with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. It is also called “the American Renaissance”. The desire for an escape from society and a return to nature became a permanent convention of American literature. The American Puritanism as a cultural heritage exerted great influences over American moral values. Besides, a preoccupation with the Calvinistic view of original sin and the mystery of evil marked the works of Hawthorne, Melville and a host of lesser writers. The most clearly defined Romantic literary movement in this period is New England Transcendentalism This Transcendentalist group includes two of the most significant writers America has produced so far, Emerson and his young friend, Henry David Thoreau, whose writing has a strong impact on American literature. Basically, Transcendentalism has been defined philosophically as “the recognition in man of the capacity of knowing truth intuitively, or of attaining knowledge transcending the reach of the senses.” Emerson once proclaimed in a speech, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of you own mind.” Other concepts that accompanied Transcendentalism include the idea that nature is ennobling and the idea that the individual is divine and, therefore, self-reliant. It ranges from the comic fables of Washington Irving to the Gothic tales of Edgar Allen Poe, from the frontier adventures of James Fenimore Cooper to the narrative quests of Herman Melville, from the psychological romances of Nathaniel Hawthorne to the social realism of Rebecca Harding.

American romantic literature by western romantic literature influence.19 century, the rapid development of American capitalism, the national consciousness and patriotic enthusiasm, to get rid of the English literature of bondage, pay attention to the human spirit and the pursuit of freedom to create a fill transcendence, thus the romantic literature began to flourish.

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