Unit 4: Dark Romanticism and Transcendentalism Vocabulary

Dark Romanticism
explores dark side of human nature (guilt, revenge, grief, etc.); undercuts upward progression with characters in downward spiral into moral disintegration; nature is a twisted, nightmarish landscape of failure, malevolence, and death

Transcendentalism
philosophy based on the belief that the most fundamental truths of life and death transcend logic

Transcendental beliefs
Nature is alive and divine; the Bible is not a source of truth; Man is innately good; democracy, individuality, moral enthusiasm, optimism, social reform

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendentalist; born in Boston from long line of ministers, left ministry for Europe and adopted Transcendental philosophies found there; “Sage of Concord” or “Father of American Transcendentalism”; wrote in philosophical, theoretical tone with dense syntax; Nature, Self Reliance, Concord Hymn

Henry David Thoreau
Transcendentalist; Emerson’s handyman and philosophy student, tested Emerson’s philosophies; wrote in conversational, easily understood tone with simple, straightforward syntax; Civil Disobedience, Walden

Nathaniel Hawthorne
Dark Romantic; ancestor was judge at Salem Witch Trials; lived in Concord, Mass.; friend of Emerson and Thoreau; probed individual psychology of sin, obsessed with guilt resulting from sin, strong sense of active presence of evil in the world; The Scarlet Letter, The House of Seven Gables, Twice-Told Tales, Mosses From an Old Manse

Herman Melville
Dark Romantic; born into middle-class New York family, spent most of his life at sea; advised and supported in writing by Hawthorne; concerned with cosmic and universal nature of evil and its origin; Moby Dick, Redburn, Billy Budd

Edgar Allan Poe
Dark Romantic; short, unhappy, unstable personal life, problems with drugs &/ alcohol, women in his life died; father of modern short story, creator of detective story formula, first American literary critic, exceptional poet, first to influence successors in three genres (poetry, ficiton, criticism); attacked heresy of the didactic, believed in single effect technique; Philosophy of Criticism, The Raven, Annabel Lee, The Bells, To Helen, Israfel, To My Mother, Sonnet– To Science, The Masque of the Red Death, The Cask of Amontillado, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, Hop-Frog, The Purloined Letter

detective story formula
brilliant detective + baffled friend + seemingly impossible mystery + surprise ending with detective’s explanation of solution

single effect technique
1) chief purpose of the writer should be to create a single effect on the mind and heart of the reader (detective story– perplex, satisfy elusive desire; supernatural tale– creater terror/horror; poem– create melancholy mood)
2) there should be no word written of which the tendency is not to the pre-established design
3) principle of proper length– poetry and fiction should be short enough to read in one sitting, poems should be no longer than 100 lines

“Shiloh: A Requiem”
Herman Melville; poem; about bloody Civil War battle, contrast between brotherhood taught in church, but denied in the heat of the battle

“The Minister’s Black Veil”
Nathaniel Hawthorne; parable/ short story; sin, repentance, morality, line of separation between superstition and religion; symbolism, allegory

“The Pit and the Pendulum”
Edgar Allan Poe; short story; takes place during Spanish Inquisition, there could be nothing worse than falling into that pit, how fear affects people; personification, symbolism, imagery, allegory

“The Raven”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; man mourning the loss of his love (Lenore), finds a talking bird who can only say “nevermore”, explores love, madness, and the supernatural; symbolism, imagery, repetition; internal rhyme

“To Helen”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; about his friend’s mom; elation to finally have a mother figure; alliteration,

“The Bells”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; bells and their sounds; onomatopoeia, internal rhyme, repetition

“Alone”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; details sadness of author’s life and childhood

“Annabel Lee”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; tells about author’s long lost love who was taken from him; symbol, repetition

“A Dream Within a Dream”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; isolation, skepticism, narrator leaves love and goes to the beach, tries to hold sand, but cannot; symbol, alliteration, repetition

“Eldorado”
Edgar Allan Poe; poem; knight spends his life looking for gold, but never finds it, contrast; allegory, symbolism, alliteration

“The Philosophy of Composition”
Edgar Allan Poe; literary criticism, essay; details how Poe wrote “The Raven” and gives rules that must be used for successful writing

“Concord Hymn”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; poem; first read July 4, 1837, celebrates America, freedom, and revolution; allusion, alliteration, assonance, apostrophe, personification

“The Snow-Storm”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; poem; vividly describes a snow storm; imagery, personification, metaphor

“The Fable”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; poem; everyone is important, everyone has their own special talent, mountain vs. squirrel; personification

“Nature”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; essay; to be at peace, you must be one with nature; personification, simile, metaphor

“Self-Reliance”
Ralph Waldo Emerson; essay; promotes nonconformity and individuality; simile, allusion, metaphor

Walden
Henry David Thoreau; essay; author spent two years in primitive isolation, tesing Emerson’s theories; symbolism, imagery, allegory

“The Battle of the Ants”
Henry David Thoreau; essay; chapter from Walden, about ants fighting

“Civil Disobedience”
Henry David Thoreau; essay; there should be less government