A darker side of the american renaissance


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  • The term "American Renaissance" concerns the identification by many Americans-painters, sculptors, architects, craftsmen, scholars, collectors, politicians, financeers, and industrialists-with the period of the European Renaissance and the feeling that the Renaissance spirit had been captured again in the United States. Concurrently, the Italian Renaissance (1420-1580) came into focus through the work of scholars and provided initial identification for many Americans. This was the Renaissance with a capital R. In time, other Renaissance manifestations were admired and seen as providing important models: France and England of the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, America in the formative years of the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and other countries, including the original sources for the Renaissance, Greece and Rome.
  • Louisa May Alcott was the second of four daughters of Abigail May Alcott, the product of a distinguished Boston family, and philosopher Bronson Alcott, a self-educated farmer’s son. The Alcotts were the inner circle of the Transcendentalist movement; Bronson Alcotts closest friends were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The two great thinkers would be the objects of teenage Louisa’s intense romantic yearnings. Her childhood would be peopled with the most important activists of the abolition movement as well as the era’s leading intellectuals.
    Bronson Alcott worked hard, but never with the mundane objective of earning a living, and brought his young family to the verge of homelessness and starvation. Alcott’s childhood poverty was tempered by family unity and intellectual riches. Under some 30 temporary Alcott roofs, she was taught to cultivate an open mind and a social conscience, and to revere nature as God’s best work. From the age of eight she would keep a journal, recording her passions, her moods, and her difficulty controlling her temper, and would continue to express her feelings throughout her lifetime in hundreds of works in a wide variety of literary forms. The Alcotts were staunch abolitionists, supporting complete racial equality, including intermarriage. As part of the Underground Railroad, they risked their own freedom hiding fugitive slaves. (Seven year-old Louisa once opened an unused oven to discover a frightened fugitive inside. She taught him to write letters.) As an adult she would know the orator Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Editor of The Liberator, the fiery antislavery newspaper; Mrs. John Brown, widow of the hanged leader of the raid on Harper’s Ferry; Julia Ward Howe, who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and Reverend Theodore Parker. In Boston and Concord, the Alcotts were intimates of the great transcendentalist thinkers and writers of the day. Emerson encouraged Louisa to spend hours in his library. On excursions at Walden Pond, she studied botany with Thoreau. The Hawthornes lived next door. [http://www.alcottfilm.com/louisa-may-alcott/life/]
    Louisa May Alcott,  (born Nov. 29, 1832, Germantown, Pa., U.S.—died March 6, 1888, Boston, Mass.), American author known for her children’s books, especially the classic Little Women.
    A daughter of the transcendentalist Bronson Alcott, Louisa spent most of her life in Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, where she grew up in the company of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker, and Henry David Thoreau.  [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/13467/Louisa-May-Alcott]
  • Alcott’s books for younger readers have remained steadfastly popular, and the republication of some of her lesser-known works late in the 20th century aroused renewed critical interest in her adult fiction. A Modern Mephistopheles, which was published pseudonymously in 1877 and republished in 1987, is a Gothic novel about a failed poet who makes a Faustian bargain with his tempter. Work: A Story of Experience (1873), based on Alcott’s own struggles, tells the story of a poor girl trying to support herself by a succession of menial jobs. The Gothic tales and thrillers that Alcott published pseudonymously between 1863 and 1869 were collected and republished as Behind a Mask (1975) and Plots and Counterplots (1976), and an unpublished Gothic novel written in 1866, A Long Fatal Love Chase, was published in 1995. [Louisa May Alcott. (2014). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved fromhttp://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/13467/Louisa-May-Alcott]
  • The plots of the works we cited examine the implications of knowledge on the spiritual life of the individual. Undeniably, Hawthorne's fiction is mostly about knowing the unknown and many of his characters are obsessed with the idea of discovering a secret. ….
    The example illustrates what is probably one of the most intriguing particularities of Hawthorne's conception of sin. In reality, knowledge is a secondary preoccupation to him. What everyone wants to know is the secret. The secret drives the story forward and it is also related to sin. The secret is frequently likened to un-truth and from there, to a lie.  In the preface of The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne explains that every piece of fiction, "as a work of art," must "rigidly subject itself to laws, and [. . .] it sins unpardonably so far as it may swerve aside from the truth of the human heart" (Pearson, 243).
    The plots of Hawthorne's stories introduce large numbers of prying secondary, background characters. They are inquiring and intrusive. They are intriguing. Most of them are built on the assumption that they could become counterparts of the reader and as such, they are fascinated by secrets and will attempt to solve the mysteries. Critics have remarked that such narratives operate a twist on the prevailing interpretation of sin within the Puritan religious doctrine. In fact, Hawthorne was cautiously "remolding the old Puritan sense of the burden of sin with an artistic delicacy" (Gorman, 19). Beyond the first reading and under the surface of the text lies the idea that knowledge should no longer be considered a sin. To Hawthorne knowing is not a sin but keeping burdensome knowledge for oneself is sin. To Hawthorne knowing is not a sin but keeping burdensome knowledge for oneself is sin. … Hawthorne seems to say that the value of the original sin lessens progressively, while the burden of the unpardonable sins grows. This is due to the suffering the sinners inflicts on others. In "Earth's Holocaust" (1844), Hawthorne tells us that "this wide world had become so overburthened with an accumulation of worn-out trumpery, that the inhabitants determined to rid themselves of it by a general bonfire." This story epitomizes Hawthorne's conception of secret sin as a joint responsibility. Contrary to what it appears, the burden of secret sin is not something personal. Actually, secret sin is a shared responsibility. It is a collective burden. The yoke of secret sin is heavier than that of the original sin because our immediate ancestors are to be held accountable for it. There is nothing humanity could have done about expiating the original sin. However, Hawthorne seems to say, humanity is directly blamable for the wrongs it commits. Hushing the wrongs, dissimulating the sin only aggravates the crime.http://salempress.com/store/samples/critical_insights/hawthorne_burden.htm
  • A darker side of the american renaissance

    1. 1. A Darker Side of the American Renaissance JOANN MCKEAN ENG/491 FEBRUARY 10, 2013
    2. 2. The American Renaissance  Dated roughly 1820 - 1865  Identification by American artists that the Renaissance spirit had been captured again in the United States.  Some of the greatest works by Americans achieved during this time.  Optimism and Idealism.  Boundless prosperity versus endless poverty.  Much of the “darker” side addressed the compromise of ideals (“Land of the Free”) and the realities of slavery, Indian removal, and lack of women’s suffrage.
    3. 3. Louisa May Alcott (1832 – 1888) Her Well-Known Works Alcott’s public image was as “The Children’s Friend”  Little Women (1868) The first of three “March family” novels based on the Alcott family, set during the Civil War. [Jo /Louisa, her sisters were the other sisters]  Little Men (1871) In this sequel to Little Women, Jo March runs a school for boys based on Bronson Alcott’s unconventional Temple School.  Jo’s Boys (1886) In the last of the March trilogy, a mature Jo March , a famous writer like her creator, a mentor of students at a coeducational college.  Aunt Jo’s Scrap Bag (1871-1879) An assortment of stories, including “Eli’s Education,” about Bronson Alcott’s childhood self-education, episodes from Alcott’s travels in Europe, and character sketches of young people of her acquaintance.  Eight Cousins (1876) Orphan Rose Campbell goes to live with her aunts and seven rough-and-tumble males cousins. Parents protested the heroine’s unconventional homeschool education, which includes the study of anatomy, and forbids the wearing of corsets.  http://www.rugusavay.com/louisa-may-alcott-photos/ Influenced by well-know Transcendentalists through Bronson Alcott and company he kept  The Writer  Rose in Bloom (1876) Sequel to Eight Cousins, Rose Campbell and her cohorts come of age. As Alcott’s mouthpiece, she speaks out in favor of women’s suffrage and recommends the work of Henry David Thoreau.
    4. 4. L. M. Alcott and “Aunt Sue”, Editors Well-Known Works “MISS ALCOTT” Alias as A. M. Barnard Lesser-Known Aspects of Louisa May Alcott
    5. 5. Lesser-Known Works   Hospital Sketches (1863) Louisa’s work as Civil War army nurse  Moods (1864) Emerson and Thoreau are the models for the male characters in this story of a woman in love with her husband's best friend. An Old-Fashioned Girl (1870) This fine young adult novel about a poor country cousin and a rich city girl has major characters and storylines based on Alcott’s mother and grandfather.  Transcendental Wild Oats (1873) Louisa’s hilarious satire of Fruitlands, her father’s ill-fated commune.  Behind a Mask, or a Woman’s Power (written as A. M. Barnard) One of her best thrillers.  Diana and Persis, or An Untitled Romance. An unfinished novella with characters based on Louisa and her sister May, about woman’s conflict between the life of an artist and marriage.  The Poetry of Louisa May Alcott. Louisa’s poems, in every mood, from age 7 until her death. Flower Fables (1854) Original fairy tales and poems   The Inheritance First novel, written at 17, influenced by Jane Eyre  A Modern Mephistopheles (1877) A novel based on the Faust story, in “the lurid style” published anonymously after Alcott’s public image as “The Children’s Friend” became a commodity to valuable to be risked.  A Long Fatal Love Chase (1996) a young woman is pursued relentlessly by her ex-lover in this romantic cliffhanger published more than a century after it was written.  Pauline’s Passion Punishment (as “A Lady from Massachusetts”)A prizewinning “sensation: story that earned Louisa $100 and entrée into the wellpaid national magazine market  Work: A Story of Experience (1873) Autobiographical novel about Alcott’s early working life amounts to a tour of occupations permitted to the time.
    6. 6. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864) The Writer Works   The Scarlet Letter (1850)  The House of the Seven Gables (1851)  The Blithedale Romance (1852)  The Marble Faun: or, The Romance of Monte Beni (1860) (as Transformation: Or, The Romance of Monte Beni, UK publication, same year)  The Dolliver Romance (1863) (unfinished)  Septimus Felton; or, the Elixir of Life (Published in the Antlantic Monthly, 1872)  Portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne byCharles Osgood, 1841 (Peabody Essex Museum) Fanshawe (published anonymously, 1828) Doctor Grimshawe’s Secret: A Romance (unfinished), with Preface and Notes by Julian Hawthorne (1882)
    7. 7. Critical Insights: Nathaniel Hawthorne The Burden of Secret Sin: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Fiction Various Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne
    8. 8.  “Roger Malvin’s Burial” (1832)  “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” (1832)  “Young Goodman Brown” (1835)  “The Gray Champion” (18350  “The White Old Maid” (1835)  Short Stories and Short Story Collections  Twice-Told Tales (1837) “Wakefield” (1835)  Grandfather’s Chair (1840)  “The Ambitious Guest” (1835)  Mosses from an Old Manse (1846)  “The Minister’s Black Veil” (1836) “The Man of Adamant” (1837)    “The Maypole of Merry Mount” (1837) The Snow-Image, and Other TwiceTold Tales (1852)  “The Great Carbuncle” (1837)   “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” (1837) A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1852)  “A Virtuoso’s Collection” (May 1842)  Tanglewood Tales (1853)  “Earth’s Holocaust” (1844)   “The Birth-Mark” (March 1843) The Dolliver Romance and Other Pieces (1876)  “Egotism: or, The Bosom-Serpent” (1843)   “The Artist of the Beautiful” (1846) The Great Stone Face and Other Tales of the White Mountains (1889)  “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (1844)   “P.’s Correspondence” (1845) The Celestial Railroad and Other Short Stories  “Ethan Brand” (1850)   “The Great Stone Face” (1850) A Wonder-Book for Young and Old (1851) Publisher: The Rogers Company  “Feathertop” (1852)
    9. 9. Herman Melville (1819 – 1891) The Writer His Work  Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846)  Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847)  Mardi: and A Voyage Thither (1849)  Moby-Dick; or The Whale(1851)  “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1853) (Short Story)  Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866) (poetry collection)  The Martyr (1866 one of the poems in a collection, on the death of Lincoln  Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876)(epic poem)  Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative) (1891 unfinished, published posthumous, 1924)
    10. 10. Civil War Poetry First Success Best Known Poetry
    11. 11. Known Works  “Benito Cereno” (1855)  Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846)  Israel Potter : His Fifty Years of Exile(1855)  Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas (1847)  Piazza Tales (1856)  The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade (1857)  Mardi: and A Voyage Thither (1849)  Redburn: His First Voyage (1849)   White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War (1850) Battle Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866) (poetry collection)  The Martyr (1866 one of the poems in a collection, on the death of Lincoln  Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land (1876)(epic poem)  John Marr and Other Sailors (1888) (poetry collection)  Timoleon (1891)(poetry collection)  Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative) (1891 unfinished, published posthumous, 1924)  Uncollected Prose (1839-1856)  Moby-Dick; or The Whale(1851)  Pierre; or, The Ambiguities (1852)  Isle of the Cross (1853 unpublished, and now lost)  “Bartleby, the Scrivener” (1853) (Short Story)  The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles (1854) (novella, possibly incorporating a short rewrite of the lost Isle of the Cross)
    12. 12. References  Georgieva, M. (2009/2014). Critical insights: Nathaniel Hawthorne. Retrieved from Salem Press: http://salempress.com/store/samples/critical_insi ghts/hawthorne_burden.htm  Louisa May Alcott. (2014). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved fromhttp://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topi c/13467/Louisa-May-Alcott  Baym, N. (Ed.). (2008). The Norton Anthology of American Literature (Shorter 7th ed., Vol. 1). New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Co.