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A Study of Literature Isms

People change through every generation. But the bidding force through all thegenerations has been literature. There are four essential classifications for literature,romanticism, realism, naturalism, and existentialism. Romanticism centers around art as inspiration, the spiritual and aestheticdimension of nature, and metaphors of organic growth (VanSpanckeren, TheRomantic Period: Essayist and Poets). VanSpanckeren says that in his essay ThePoet, 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, inavarice, in politics, in labor, in games, we study to utter our painful secret. Theman is only half himself, the other half is expression (qtd. in The RomanticPeriod: Essayist and Poets). Romantic literature came from a reaction to the neoclassicism and formal orthodoxy ofthe preceding period (Holman and Harmon). Romanticism arose so gradually andexhibited so many phases that a satisfactory definition is not possible (Holman andHarmon). According to VanSpanckeren, the development of the self became a majortheme in romanticism; self- awareness was a primary method. According to theRomantic theory, self and nature are the same, and self- awareness is not a selfishdead end but a mode of knowledge opening up the universe (VanSpankeren, TheRomantic Period: Essayists and Poets). With this new found idea of self, newcompound 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, andlooked to the inspired imagination for its aesthetic and ethical values (VanSpankeren,The Romantic Period: Essayists and Poets). In New England, Romanticismprospered, the New England transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry DavidThoreau, and their associates, were inspired to a new optim...

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