A Study of Literature Isms

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People change through every generation. But the bidding force through all the generations has been literature. There are four essential classifications for literature, romanticism, realism, naturalism, and existentialism. Romanticism centers “around art as inspiration, the spiritual and aesthetic dimension of nature, and metaphors of organic growth” (VanSpanckeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayist and Poets”). VanSpanckeren says that in his essay “The Poet”, Ralph Waldo Emerson, one of the most influential writer of the Romantic era, asserts: For all men live by truth, and stand in need in expression. In love, in art, in avarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret. The man is only half himself, the other half is expression (qtd. in “The Romantic Period: Essayist and Poets”). Romantic literature came from a reaction to the neoclassicism and formal orthodoxy of the preceding period (Holman and Harmon). “Romanticism arose so gradually and exhibited so many phases that a satisfactory definition is not possible” (Holman and Harmon). According to VanSpanckeren, the development of the self became a major theme in romanticism; self- awareness was a primary method. According to the Romantic theory, self and nature are the same, and self- awareness is not a selfish dead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe (VanSpankeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayists and Poets”). With this new found idea of self, new compound words with positive meanings emerged: self- realization, self- expression, and self- reliance (VanSpankeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayist and Poets”). Romanticism stresses individualism, affirmed the value of the common person, and looked to the inspired imagination for its aesthetic and ethical values (VanSpankeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayists and Poets”). In New England, Romanticism prospered, the New England transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and their associates, were inspired to a new optimistic affirmation by the romanticism ideas (VanSpanckeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayists and Poets”). The transcendentalists believed that the soul of each individual was thought to be identical with the world (VanSpanckeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayist and Poets”). Some examples of romantic writers are the New England transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, Bronson Alcott, and William Ellery Channing), Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Edgar Allen Poe (VanSpanckeren, “The Romantic Period: Essayists and Poets”). The New England transcendentalist carried the expression of philosophical and religious ideas to a high level through essays and lectures (Holman and Harmon). Ralph Waldo Emerson’s first publication, Nature,
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