Rinascimento americano: riassunto di letteratura. Thoreau, Emerson, Melville, Hawthorne, F. S. Fitzgerald, "Jazz age" e Oscar Wilde (8 pagine formato doc)
AMERICAN RENAISSANCE: RIASSUNTO
“American renaissance”. It is not a literary movement, it’s the title of F.O. Mathiessen’s work: he was a literary critic who wrote, in the 40’s, a big work which is a study of 19th century American Literature. According to him the period between 1850 and 1855 was the Golden Age of American literature. In his opinion the most important works of American literature were written in these years, which saw the publication of “Representative Men” by R. W. Emerson, “The Scarlett Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, “Moby Dick” (1851) by Herman Melville, “Walden” (1854) by Thoreau, “Leaves of Grass” (poetry) by Walt Whitman. Mathiessen thought that these works were superior to the English literature of the period. What is certain is that British literature and the newborn American one came from two different traditions and therefore they dealt with different issues. Many British novelists of the period were more concerned with social problems ( for example Dickens, Hardy, George Eliot, “The Mill on the Floss”) or with psychological inquiry (indagine) (for example Stevenson), or with society and respectability (Hardy, Wilde, Shaw). The American literary tradition, since the beginning, had had a strong puritan background and as (poiché) it mostly flourished in New England, which was the place were puritan settlers had established themselves more than two centuries before, the influence of the Bible (also in the language, not only in themes), the sense of predestination, the idea of sin and punishment, are strongly felt. Parallely there’s also a large presence of nature (in Northen America there are immense landscapes), in the sense also of a presence of the divine in nature, which ultimately dates back to Romanticism, but was spread and reinforced by a movement of American writers called “Trascendentalists” (< Trascendentalism). They were a group of writers which developed in a village of Massachussets called Concord, where they lived, and it was a philosophical, religious, literary social movement. The most important representative trascendentalist was Emerson, another was Thoreau (vedi fotocopia).
AMERICAN RENAISSANCE: SUMMARY
According to them:
• The spiritual world trascends the material world;
• The physical world offers us only the appearance of reality, but reality itself exists only in the spirit;
• Orthodox religion, that is the religion taught by the various churches, interferes with man’s attempt to live a spiritually free life. Finally man must use his spiritual faculties, which are reason and intuition, to look for the spiritual principle (the soul of Universe), which you can identify with God.
Obviously some philosophers also stressed individualism which, in the most radical philosophers like Thoreau, also involved the rejection of authority, intellectual and social in general but also political.
• One person should live a life of contemplation, developing his intellectual growth, exchanging ideas with his fellow men, avoiding material or economic distraction.
RINASCIMENTO AMERICANO LETTERATURA
It was rather an optimistic philosophy, in the sense that it was opposed to Puritanism, it was against that insistence of Puritans on the original sin and on the natural wickedness of man.
Thoreau (v. fotocopia) was one who put in practice in his life the idea of freedom from the institutions and he wrote about this experience. He lived in a hut nearby the river and he thought that civil disobedience was the way to rebel, to fight against the institutions when they didn’t go in the right way. “Walden” is a report of the period he spent in a hut.
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