Somewhat counter-intuitively, I will make this argument through a reading of a moment in the career of Walt Whitman, a poet too often thought to personify the version of Romantic lyricism and American Romanticism
I am here arguing against.
This collection missed an opportunity to open the way for a similarly searching examination of the roots, growth, and influence of American Romanticism
on educational thought, practice, and print culture.
Bendixen's account of American Romanticism
, rather than focusing on the Transcendentalists, examines less canonical writers, giving a compelling account of the work of women poets like Maria Gowen Brooks and Elizabeth Oakes Smith.
One thematic convention that makes early American Romanticism
seem particularly divorced from the midcentury Romanticism of Emerson and Melville is its moralizing tone.
The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism
. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
In his introduction to The Subversive Vision: American Romanticism
in Literature (1972), Michael Hoffman declares the most important romantic lesson to be one taught by Nietzsche, "that the value of the individual is created by his constant transvaluation of the self and of what the self has been" (5).
Nonetheless, the author makes a compelling case that the Sage of Monticello "created the visionary politics of American Romanticism
." Jefferson's soaring rhetoric of American exceptionalism has served to rally the American public in the face of threats from abroad and crises at home, "forcing all those who deploy it to live up to its ideals" (p.
Dunaway puts these artists at the center of his story, yet, for all their creativity, he paints a picture of them as translators--conduits through which ideas from science, politics, and the deep wellspring of earlier American Romanticism
flow into the mainstream of American culture (albeit refined and revised by these artists).
THE PEABODY SISTERS: THREE WOMEN WHO IGNITED AMERICAN ROMANTICISM
By Megan Marshall Houghton Mifflin, 624 pages, $28
While Marshall aims to show the importance of the Peabodys themselves, as heralded in the book's subtitle, The Women Who Ignited American Romanticism
, one significant rationale for their importance is surely their close connection not only to Alcott, Mann, and Hawthorne, but also to William Ellery Channing and, especially, the ur-transcendentalist himself, Emerson.
Moral striving by one's best lights remained an inescapable duty, but no one, not even America, could escape complicity in the sins of the world." This was the innermost meaning of Lincoln's American romanticism
and, by implication, the innermost meaning of America.
Gilmore's close alignment, in his American Romanticism
and the Marketplace (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), of capitalist development with the emergence of professional writing (p.
The inadequacy of this seemingly harmless procedure became obvious to me one day as I stood before a classroom of students taking American Romanticism
and assigned Moby-Dick, a rich and complex novel written by a man of undisputed genius at the height of his literary powers.
Shepard has a great affinity with the American Romanticism
of nineteenth century Transcendentalists like Emerson and Whitman.
Noting that some critics have dismissed American Romanticism
as "lovey-dovey, sappy music filled with lyricism and generally not worth our attention," OFAM executive director James Ralph challenges them to study up on the subject.