Romantic Period of Literature in America Essay

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Beginning early in the 17th century, American authors and poets alike began the great shift in writing now known as the romantic period. This movement in literature has many influences, themes, and writing styles that can be highlighted with important works and authors. A promising frontier, new cultures brought by immigration, and a search for spiritual answers were all key influences in bringing about the romantic movement. Themes of the romantic period include nature as a refuge, high imagination, and emotional intensity. All of these influences and themes culminate in many different forms of literature including poem, short story, and essay. A drastic shift from the Puritan and Quaker writings of the colonial period in American…show more content…
One of the largest and most popular themes in the romantic period was nature and its magnificence. Authors and dreamers loved the idea of delving into nature, getting lost in God’s creation, and emerging a changed person. “Nature,” a philosophic piece by Ralph Waldo Emerson, turns a purely academic essay into a romantic account of nature and her wonders. Emerson writes that “the sun illuminates only the eye of the man, but shines into the eye and the heart of the child,” and that “nature never wears a mean appearance,” suggesting that the grown man has much to fear and learn from nature. Emerson concludes by saying he is a “lover of uncontained and immortal beauty,” perfectly summarizing the view many romantic authors held. The romantic period of literature saw an enormous spike in the amount of imaginative writing, as exemplified by Washington Irving’s romantic-inspired story, “The Devil and Tom Walker.” In his satire, Irving includes many creative components. The author first sets a beautiful scene with descriptive writing and imagery, then brings in humorous components as the protagonists are revealed to be even greedier than the devil himself. Such writing would not have been put to paper in the colonial period. Another important theme was emotional intensity, suggested by the name “romantic period” itself. “The Pit and the Pendulum” by Edgar Allen Poe is full
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