In the nineteenth century, the foundation of American literature had a profound change. This was called from Reason to Romance or Romanticism. With many contributions of famous writers such as Irving, Cooper, Bryant, and Poe composed the stories and poems which all of them had a great value in the American literature. What is the Romanticism and how dies it effect to the American literature? By taking some compositions from these writers, there will be good answers for those questions.
According to some information in English books, the critics said the name Romantic can be misleading because the Romantics do not necessarily write about the love. The Romanticism can be viewed as an artistic movement, or state of mind, or both. This movement seemed to be reaction against the dominant attitudes and approaches of the eighteenth century. Unlike the eighteenth century, writers who interest in reaction, logic, and scientific observation, the Romantics stressed the examination of inner feelings, emotions and the use of imagination. This seemed to be the first element in Romanticism. It appeals to emotion rather than reason. Also, the Romanticism explores the mysteries of nature and supernatural. It reflects interesting in nature because the Romantics describe their story and poem about America wilderness or countryside or they depicted nature. This element that the reader can recognize clearly in the compositions of these writers above. The third element that the Romantics interest in unusual or ordinary. Furthermore, Romantics had a strong belief in democracy, a deep awareness in the past. Some writers explore the mysteries of nature, the inner self and the relationship between the nature and human imagination. Also it delved into a history of young nation or tradition of the United States. This element will explain the spirit of Nationalism. Using these elements discussed above, this essay will parallel with two representative compositions of Washington Irving, “The Devil and Tom Walker,” and The Raven poem of Edgar Allan Poe, these will be proved clearly for this thesis.
First, the representative Romantic who become the first writer American literature to achieve international reputation, as Washington Irving. He was born in a wealthy New York family. He spent much time traveling in European and reading almost European literature, he wrote the folk tale as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Devil and Tom Walker. In “The Devil and Tom Walker” Irving created this famous folktale by reshaping a German folktale that implicates the stereotype of a person who selling his soul to devil. Irving makes the tale distinctly American by setting it in New England during late 1720’s- a time that the Puritanism, especially...