"I had been hungry" by Emily Dickinson.

Essay by BibsyUniversity, Bachelor's April 2003

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1. American Romanticism

The term "Romaticism" is derived from "romantic, adj. - Lit. 'pertaining to a romance', fr. F. romantique, fr. MF. romant (whence F. roman, 'novel'), back formation fr. late L. Romanice, 'in Vulgar Latin'."

Romaniticism was a transatlantic cultural phenomenon that occurred both in Europe and in North America, even though at different times.

The Romatic period in American literature and art followed the Enlightenment period. Enlightenment's highest values concerning epistemology, aesthetics and human behavior were reason, success, reality, progress, and the clarity of nation. In the late eighteenth century, people felt that they had become seperated from nature and there was a shift in sensibility. Romanticism was a reaction against the rational mentality of the Enlightenment. People's values changed drastically, now great store was set by imagination, (social) decline, the Gothic tradition, and the ambiguity of perception. The civilization having become more and more commercial during the preceding decades, people felt its constraints more than ever before.

Thus, they turned to the so-called "superior truth of 'Nature'" . There was a confidence among people that this turn was still possible.

The Romantics believed in the existence of truth and order only in the natural world and transferred this perception to human nature. Therefore, the center of interest became the individual as a part of nature. Romantic writers were against any theory of history that denied "individual preeminence in the shaping of events" . Moreover, the Romantics were interested in unspoiled nature as a contrast to the civilized world. The counterpart of the unspoiled nature in the human being was his psyche with all the mysterious and dark parts it contains. Emotion and intuition, coming from these hidden parts of the psyche, were regarded as higher values than rationality because rationality came from society and civilization and,