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By: Lindsay Cameron
“ Bells bells bells bells bells bells bells” this quote from Edgar Allen Poes’ The Bells, is one poem that had great influence on early 19th century literature. During the early 1800’s , writers Poe, Irving, and Cooper display characteristics of Romantic writers.
Cooper diplays characters with honest expression to their feelings. This appeal to emotion rather then reason is one characteristic of Romanticism. “Deerslayer raised the Indian in his arms, and carried him to the lake…..and took the head of his wounded adversary in his own lap, and endeavored to sooth his anguish in the best manner he could”. This appeal to emotion rather then reason is one characteristic of Romanticism. Another is Coopers interest in nature, he describes the beauties of the American wilderness “It was already quiet near the point. He was entirely on his own resources, and was cheered by no friendly eye, emboldened by no encouraging voice”.
Another important influential writer of the early 1800’s is Irving. His essay Early Life In Manhattan shows an interest in the unusual. Romantic writers were always persuing the strange and out-of-the-way, seldom did they write on the average and the ordinary. As he satirized housewives and homelife of that time he grabbed the attention of many readers. “The whole house was constantly in a state of inundation, under the discipline if mops and brooms and scrubbing brushes; and the good housewives of those days were a kind of amphibious animal…historian of the day tell us townswomen grew to have webbed fingers like tat of a duck”. Irving also mocks the behavior of the young boys at tea parties. “wealthy gentlemen, with their brains in their pockets, nor amusing conceits and monkey divertissements of smart young gentlemen with no brains at all”. Irvings style was to look at the customs and traditions of an era and to view the strange characterics and mannerisms in his writings. He was very influential. Irving made people really look at their behavior and traditions that they follow.
The third writer who was part of the Romantic movement is Edgar Allen Poe. He was mostly famous for writing about the strange and unusual by exploring the dark areas of his mind. In The Fall of the House of Usher the setting symbolises how he really feels inside. As I read the story I was really able to feel the sadness. “During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens”. The setting is gloomy, the story does not have one happy word, expression, or feeling in it. The setting “ the windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within… an air of stern, deep and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all”. Poes interest in the strange and unusual and his appeal to emotion rather then reason which have a predominant effect are what make his work some of the greatest examples of Gothic Romanticism.
All of these writers had such profound influences on literature. Cooper, Irving, and Poe all went against what was the norm and wrote on how they were feeling. Their true inside emotions were expressed through their literature. These writers were all so very different from each other. From their writing style, to the topics they wrote on, Cooper, Irving and Poes’ similar characteristics are difficult to find, but they do come together at one point. Cooper, Poe, and Irving, all display characteristics of Romantic writers.
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Romanticism, Literary genres, German idealism, Edgar Allan Poe, The Bells, Gothic fiction, Romantic music
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