Romanticism's Sublime Style in Rip Van Winkle, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Billy Budd

Romanticism's Sublime Style in Rip Van Winkle, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Billy Budd

Length: 2150 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Romanticism's Sublime Style in Rip Van Winkle, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Billy Budd

 
    "Sublime refers to an aesthetic value in which the primary factor is the presence or suggestion of transcendent vastness or greatness, as of power, heroism, extent in space or time"(Internet Encyclopedia).  This essay will explore different levels of Romanticism's sublime style in Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Herman Melville's Billy Budd. The essay will particularly focus on how the writers incorporate the spiritual and the terror aspects of the sublime into their work.

American romanticism requires the wilds of nature to be the setting for the sublime. It is in this setting that the protagonist senses a conflict of good and evil. Even though the beautiful surroundings would suggests a pure serenity, the shadows in the beautiful setting reminds one that there is a dark side to nature. In each story there is an antagonist lurking about requiring the protagonist to choose his thinking - and ultimately his destiny. The antagonist in Billy Budd is Claggart, in The Legend of Sleepy Hallow, Brom Bones, and in Rip Van Winkle it could be a toss up between his nagging wife or the "company of odd-looking personages" he meets in the mountains.

Essentially it is Longinus, a first century philosopher, who is first credited with introducing the idea of the sublime into the arts (Weiskel 8). Longinus suggests five sources of sublimity in literature: "(1) the ability to conceive great thoughts, (2) intense emotion, (3) powerful figures of speech, (4) the choice of noble words, and (5) harmonious composition of sentences" (Kennedy, vol. 12). Each of Longinus? foundational sources for sublimity suggests an...


... middle of paper ...


...n Boulton 40).
 

Works Cited

Boulton, J. T. Burke?s Enquiry Into The Sublime And The Beautiful. New York: Columbia University, 1958.

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 1997. University of Tennessee at Martin. 4 April 2001. http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/s/sublime.htm.

Kennedy, George. "Longinus." The World Book Encyclopedia. 1985. Vol. 12:399.

Melville, Herman. "Billy Budd." Ed. Paul Lauther. The Heath Anthology of

American Literature. New York: Houghton 1998. 2512-2570.

Washington, Irving. "The Legend of Sleep Hallow." Ed. Paul Lauther. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. New York: Houghton 1998. 1354-1373.

-------- "Rip Van Winkle." Ed. Paul Lauther. The Heath Anthology of

American Literature. New York: Houghton 1998. 1342-1354.

Weiskel, Thomas. Romantic Sublime. Baltimore: John Hopkins University, 1976.

 

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Rip Van Winkle

- "The outline for each story, although based on native history, can be found in legend and myth." Robert M. Meyers, a famous critic, said this about Washington Irving's amazing talent in writing short stories in literature. "Rip Van Winkle" is one of Washington's most famous short stories. Washington does a fantastic job in the story using the themes of martial conflict and American Revolution. Throughout the story, both seem very noticeable. "Rip Van Winkle" covers many literary elements, all of which are very noticeable to the reader....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle]

Powerful Essays
2536 words (7.2 pages)

The Life Of Rip Van Winkle Essay

- The Life of Rip Van Winkle In Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle, the main character Rip represents the United States. Throughout this entire story Mr. Winkle is having a tremendous amount of trouble struggling to find himself. He left home and came back to the same problems he was dealing with before he left. One of his main reasons for leaving was to get away from his nagging wife. Rip’s biggest problem was that he was very lethargic. While Mr. Winkle was a pleasant man, his laziness affected many areas in his life such as his family, the farm, and also society....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle, Washington Irving]

Powerful Essays
842 words (2.4 pages)

Transformation and Freedom in Rip Van Winkle Essays

- Transformation and Freedom in Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving's, "Rip Van Winkle" presented a tale of a "dreamer." Rip Van Winkle was a family man who worked odd jobs around town, but managed to slip away from doing his own work around his farm. He was "one of those happy mortals...who take[s] the world easy." (pg. 404). He constantly struggled with the "henpecking" of his wife. Van Winkle found refuge and comfort going squirrel shooting with his dog. "Rip Van Winkle" depicts a story of a man longing to be free, and of the transformation that occurs to him and the town....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Free Essays
719 words (2.1 pages)

The Message of Rip Van Winkle Essays

- Rip looked, and beheld a precise counterpart of himself, --[It appears Rip has seen an exact mirror-image of himself--the way others have always perceived him]-- as he went up the mountain--[This was the way he was before his "sleep," or journey up the mountain]--: apparently as lazy, and certainly as ragged--[Before he encountered the party on the mountain, he was a casual, rough and lazy person]--. The poor fellow was now completely confounded--[It appears to everyone that Rip Jr. was confused in his thoughts, however, just as Rip Sr....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Powerful Essays
1037 words (3 pages)

Rip Van Winkle and Romanticism Essays

- Rip Van Winkle and Romanticism In the world of literature, there are many types of writing that an author can take to express his ideas. Their topics can be explained through life experiences, biographies, poetry, or other forms of literature. One of the forms that authors use is Romanticism. There are many qualities that define the different viewpoints of Romanticism. Rip Van Winkle, “Thanatopsis,” and “The Cross of Snow” are all examples of writing from the period of Romanticism....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Free Essays
1453 words (4.2 pages)

Rip Van Winkle and the American Dream Essay

- In Rip Van Winkle, Irving shows his doubts in the American Identity and the American dream. After the Revolutionary war, America was trying to develop its own course. They were free to govern their own course of development; however, some of them had an air of uncertainties on their own identity in this new country. Irving was born among this generation in the newly created United States of America, and also felt uncertainty about the American identity. Irving might be the writer that is the least positive about being an American....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Powerful Essays
649 words (1.9 pages)

An Analysis of Irving's Rip Van Winkle Essay

- An Analysis of Irving's Rip Van Winkle Rip Van Winkle had grabbed his gun and his dog, Wolf, and headed out to the woods. He rested under a tree where evening came on quickly. As Rip was getting ready to journey back home, he heard a voice calling his name. He went to see who was calling his name. He discovered an old man carrying a keg on his back. Rip and the old man walked to a ravine in the mountain. There they found a band of odd-looking people. Rip and the old man drank from the keg the man was carrying on his back....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Free Essays
784 words (2.2 pages)

Essay about An Allegorical Reading of Rip Van Winkle

- An Allegorical Reading of Rip Van Winkle In Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle,” an allegorical reading can be seen. The genius of Irving shines through, in not only his representation in the story, but also in his ability to represent both sides of the hot political issues of the day. Because it was written during the revolutionary times, Irving had to cater to a mixed audience of Colonists and Tories. The reader’s political interest, whether British or Colonial, is mutually represented allegorically in “Rip Van Winkle,” depending on who is reading it....   [tags: Rip Van Winkle Essays]

Powerful Essays
1509 words (4.3 pages)

Contemporary Rural America Captured in Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

- 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....   [tags: Legend Sleepy Hollow Essays]

Powerful Essays
1761 words (5 pages)

The Search for America in Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

- The Search for America in Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow        In the early to mid-1800's, Washington Irving was an immensely popular writer heralded as one of the 'great' American writers.  Irving's importance lies especially in "Rip Van Winkle" and " The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," the sketches in which he creates the vision of the alternate America(n).  His critique of American society through his main characters-Rip and Ichabod-and the towns in which they live gives shape to an America not usually acknowledged by his contemporaries, and thus crucial to American literary studies today.  J....   [tags: Legend Sleepy Hollow Essays]

Powerful Essays
3268 words (9.3 pages)