Romanticism is an influential literary movement in America that changed literature permanently from the drastically modest and structured ideals of Puritanism. Two contrasting types of authors, Romantics and Dark Romantics, introduce new, meaningful literature to America; while Romantics see the light and airy side of the world, Dark Romantics see the darker more horrific side. This drastically modified literary period is influenced by Europe and was revolutionary for America from the moment it arrived. American Romanticism rejects the normal, rational thought and praises the unpredictability and complexity of emotion. Romanticism has changed American literature forever.
Despite its name, the Romantic literary period has little to nothing to do with love and romance that often comes with love; instead it focuses on the expression of feelings and imagination. Romanticism originally started in Europe, first seen in Germany in the eighteenth century, and began influencing American writers in the 1800s. The movement lasts for sixty years and is a rejection of a rationalist period of logic and reason. Gary Arpin, author of multiple selections in Elements of Literature: Fifth Course, Literature of The United States, presents the idea that, “To the Romantic sensibility, the imagination, spontaneity, individual feelings and wild nature were of greater value than reason, logic, planning and cultivation” (143). The Romantic author rejects logic and writes wild, spontaneous stories and poems inspired by myths, folk tales, and even the supernatural. Not only do the Romantics reject logic and reasoning, they praise innocence, youthfulness and creativity as well as the beauty and refuge that they so often find in nature.
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