About This Chapter
The Romantic Period
Don't try to hide your emotions; feel them, and feel them strongly. This emphasis on emotion was part of the Romantic period in literature, which eschewed the rationalism and realism of the time. Imagination and intuition were passionately pursued and offered an escape into new modes of free expression. Our first lesson will give you an overview of the Romantic period and introduce you to its characteristics.
Washington Irving (who also went by the names Diedrich Knickerbocker and Geoffrey Crayon in his own time) epitomizes the Romantic period. Today, he is still referred to as the father of American literature, since his writing helped shape a nation's identity. Our first lesson on Washington Irving will show how this writer's life shaped him while examining his style. You'll see how his humor and irony contributed to his distinctive style.
We'll also examine three of Washington Irving's short stories: 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Devil and Tom Walker.' Each lesson will center around a single story to offer a neat summary and analysis. You'll also gain a further understanding of Irving's style and characteristics of the Romantic period with each story. After meeting the headless horseman, witnessing a fortuitously heavy sleeper and dealing with the Devil, you'll see why Irving's works are still considered unforgettable.
Finally, what would the Romantic period be without a little poetry? Our journey will come to an end with a lesson on the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. We'll explore lyric poems to discuss the differences between free verse and blank verse and see how this applies to Longfellow's 'Paul Revere's Ride.' Our lessons take a cue from the Romantic period, using imagination to help you travel to higher realms of learning. Thanks for watching!
1. The Romantic Period in American Literature and Art
This video introduces American Romanticism, a movement where literature focused on intuition, imagination and individualism. Authors such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow contributed to what became known as the American identity, as the new country did its best to distance itself from European tradition.
2. Washington Irving: Biography, Works, and Style
This video introduces Washington Irving, the father of American literature. Through his works, like 'Rip Van Winkle' and 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,' Irving developed a sophisticated yet satirical style while helping establish the American identity.
3. Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Summary and Analysis
Everyone loves a scary story now and then. Learn how Washington Irving's famous story, ''The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,'' uses imagination and the supernatural to make it a Romantic piece of American literature that is still adapted by television today.
4. Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle: Summary and Analysis
The story of 'Rip Van Winkle' is one of enchantments and escape. In this lesson, we look at how Washington Irving uses his words and Romantic characteristics to create the story's theme.
5. The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving: Summary and Analysis
Romantic literature, such as 'The Devil and Tom Walker,' often references the supernatural. In this lesson, we learn how Washington Irving uses an allegory with symbols to create a moral tale about greed while incorporating the supernatural theme.
6. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: Poem Analysis
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was known as a fireside poet because his poems were read by the fire as a means of entertainment. Learn about how he created American history through the use of musical elements, like rhythm and rhyme scheme.
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Other chapters within the English 102: American Literature course
- Introduction to American Literature
- Analyzing American Literature
- Colonial and Early National Period in Literature
- Dark Romantics
- Transcendentalism in Literature
- Realism in Literature
- Modernist Prose and Plays
- Modernist Poetry
- The Harlem Renaissance and Literature
- Literature of the Contemporary Period
- Required Assignments for English 102
- Studying for English 102