(31) American Nineteenth Century Romanticism: from H. W. Longfellow to E. A. Poe and Transcendentalism.
A m e r i c a n R o m a n t i c i s m
[See "Background for Topics 31-33..."]
H e n r y W a d s w o r t h L o n g f e l l o w ( 1 8 0 7 – 8 2 )
L i f e :
- received uni education in Eur.
- became a scholar, professor of modern languages at Harvard
- became one of the intellectual triumvirate incl. also J. R. Lowell and O. W. Holmes
- his lifetime: very pop., spoke directly to the hearts of ordinary Am., said exactly what they wanted to hear x now: not so much appreciated
- after his death the 1st Am. poet to have his bust placed in the Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey
W o r k :
P r o s e :
Hyperion (1839): an early prose romance; models the F protagonist after his 2nd wife Frances Appleton he met after college in Eur.
P o e t r y :
- a learned scholar: contrib. to the emergence of national poetry with native topics and events
- created a new body of romantic Am. legends: made Am. history exciting, hard to resist
- wrote verse of genuine musical quality: sentimental, simple, and often moralising (though now more amusing than inspiring)
- never surprised or shocked, used safe forms, and calm, clear voice
- introd. Eur. forms to Am. poetry
(a) Long Narrative Poems:
- achieved great fame with these
- used unusual ‘antique’ rhythms to weave the myths of the Am. past
Evangeline (1847), Hiawatha (1855), and The Courtship of Miles Standish (1858)
(b) Shorter Poems
“Excelsior”, “A Psalm of Life”, “My Lost Youth”, “Fata Morgana”, “Mezzo Cammin”, “The Children’s Hour”, “The Day is Done”, “The Slave’s Dream”
Voices of the Night (1839), Ballads and Other Poems (1841), and Poems on Slavery (1842)
T r a n s l a t i o n s :
- a poetic transl. of Dante’s Divine Comedy (1867): contrib. with a sequence of 6 outstanding sonnets
E d g a r A l l e n P o e
[see P. under ‘33 The Infl. of E. A. Poe…’]
Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.
Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.
Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.
Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.
McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.
Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.
Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.
Peprník, Michal. Semináře: Americká literatura 1. ZS 2004/05.