The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries witnessed a revival of the concept of the Sublime. The Sublime, as a notion, first reached English theorists by way of Nicholas Boileau-Despréaux’s translation of the Greek text attributed to Longinus titled “On the Sublime,” which discussed the Sublime within writing. The work categorized sublimity as raising men “almost to the intellectual greatness of God” (Longinus, 76). Once raised to extreme intellectual heights the authors were then able to raise others to the limits of their being. In short, “the effect of the Sublime is “transport” (ekstasis) - it is a quality of a passage which “shatters the hearer’s composure,”” (Abrams, 308) due to the heightened ability of the writer. Longinus’ concept of the Sublime reached further fruition when discussed in Edmund Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment, as well as in works by Dennis, Addison, Hume and poets Wordsworth, Thomson, and Mallet who attempted to clarify and diversify the concept. America, a land bubbling over with sublime images, added real-world value to the discussion; as such, the literature, philosophy and art during America’s exploration of itself focused on the image of the sublime as a means of breaking from the past, of discerning power and of forging a new identity.
We have spent a good deal of this semester concentrating on the sublime. We have asked what (in nature) is sublime, how is the sublime described and how do different writers interpret the sublime. A sublime experience is recognizable by key words such as 'awe', 'astonishment' and 'terror', feelings of insignificance, fractured syntax and the general inability to describe what is being experienced. Perception and interpretation of the sublime are directly linked to personal circumstance and suffering, to spiritual beliefs and even expectation (consider Wordsworth's disappointment at Mont Blanc). It has become evident that there is a transition space between what a traveler experiences and what he writes; a place wherein words often fail but the experience is intensified, even understood by the traveler. This space, as I have understood it, is the imagination. In his quest for spiritual identity Thomas Merton offers the above quotation to illustrate what he calls 'interpenetration' between the self and the world. As travel writers engage nature through their imagination, Merton's description of the 'inner ground' is an appropriate one for the Romantic conception of the imagination. ...
In conclusion, the sublime and the beautiful are major topics in romantic poems and novels. Different authors bring out the different ways they can be seen and interpreted. In the novel Frankenstein and the poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, the sublime and the beautiful are shown through the feelings and the mind of the main characters. In the poem “Mont Blanc,” the sublime is shown through the complexity of nature and how man will never truly be able to understand it. In order to have something beautiful there must be something sublime, and in order for they’re to be something sublime there must be something beautiful.
Contemporary Rural America Captured in Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Most Americans probably believe our times are different from Washington Irving’s era. After all, almost 200 years have passed, and the differences in technology and civil liberties alone are huge. However, these dissimilarities seem merely surface ones. When reading “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” I find that the world Irving creates in each story is very familiar to the one in which I grew up.
Romanticism was an artistic movement that validated the experience of intense emotion—with a particular emphasize on nature and the sublime. (From examining excerpts from The Sublime and The Beautiful, a work by Edmund Burke, one can define the sublime as excitement, pain, fear, horror, or terror). Artists of the Romantic Movement were obligated to encourage or help the reader experience and feel all emotions. Both Goethe and Edgar Allen Poe successfully do so by utilizing Romantic elements to evoke or arouse intense emotions.
Fifteen years separate Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” The two share an eerie connection because of the trepidation the two protagonists endure throughout the story. The style of writing between the two is not similar because of the different literary elements they choose to exploit. Irving’s “Sleepy Hollow” chronicles Ichabod Crane’s failed courtship of Katrina Van Tassel as well as his obsession over the legend of the Headless Horseman. Hawthorne’s story follows the spiritual journey of the protagonist, Young Goodman Brown, through the woods of Puritan New England where he looses his religious faith. However, Hawthorne’s work with “Young Goodman Brown” is of higher quality than Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” because Hawthorne succeeds in exploiting symbols, developing characters, and incorporating worthwhile themes.
Although at times it is easy to get carried away with the adventure of a story, noticing the elements a writer has put into his work is very important. In reading “Young Goodman Brown” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” you can see both similarities as well as differences of how both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Washington Irving chose to illuminate their romantic writing styles. The writers both use a mystical woodsy setting with supernatural twists to draw in readers. Underlying you will find the differing romantic themes each writer used, as well as how each writer chose to end their work.
Burke, Edmund. "Proportion Further Considered". A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909-1917 (New York: Bartleby.com, 2001). http://www.bartleby.com/24/2/305.html
Romanticism and Transcendentalism are both literary movements that were appreciated in the American literature. Both movements are quite similar; however, Romanticism is a strong motivational force that depicted emotions, patriotism, and imagination. Dark Romanticism, on the other hand, is a branch of Romanticism that focuses on the evil qualities of the man. Not only it is a branch of Romanticism, however, it is a reaction of Transcendentalism. Transcendentalism focuses on self-realization, empowering the connection between man and nature, and the goodness of man and nature. Throughout the years, American authors such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe projected dark romantic features in their work, “Young Goodman Brown” and “Tell-Tale Heart”, where they show the conflict between the good and evil. However, Emerson portrayed transcendentlistic characteristics in his book “Nature” as he shows the power of knowledge, nature, and divinity.
In the nineteenth century, individuality, personal growth, and imagination characterized the period of Romanticism. Writers of this period searched within their own souls for truth and expression. One subgenre of this time period was Transcendentalism. Transcendentalists believed that nature was the closest you could get to God and that people were born good. When Transcendentalism emerged, many people disagreed with the optimism of the Transcendentalists and these people believed more in the darkness and evilness of humanity. These people came to be known as Dark Romantics. Dark Romanticism was seen in some authors’ poems and stories, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell- Tale Heart” and “The Raven” and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter and “The Minister’s Black Veil.” These writers’ works contrast with the prospect of Romantic writer Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden.” The Dark Romantics wanted the darkness of the people in their time period be documented as well as the optimism and positivity of the people in their time period.