Leatherstocking Tales  

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Edgar Allan Poe was a representative of the darker strains of American Romanticism
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Edgar Allan Poe was a representative of the darker strains of American Romanticism

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

American Romanticism was largely influenced by British Romanticism.

Prose

In the United States, the romantic gothic made an early appearance with Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) and Rip Van Winkle (1819), followed from 1823 onwards by the fresh Leatherstocking tales of James Fenimore Cooper, with their emphasis on heroic simplicity and their fervent landscape descriptions of an already-exotic mythicized frontier peopled by "noble savages", similar to the philosophical theory of Rousseau, exemplified by Uncas, from "The Last of the Mohicans". There are picturesque "local color" elements in Washington Irving's essays and especially his travel books.

Edgar Allan Poe's tales of the macabre and his balladic poetry were more influential in France than at home, but the romantic American novel developed fully in Nathaniel Hawthorne's atmosphere and melodrama. Later Transcendentalist writers such as Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson still show elements of its influence, as does the romantic realism of Walt Whitman. But by the 1880s, psychological and social realism was competing with romanticism in the novel. The poetry which Americans wrote and read was all romantic until the 1920s: Poe and Hawthorne, as well as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Poetry

The poetry of Emily Dickinson – nearly unread in her own time – and Herman Melville's novel Moby-Dick can be taken as epitomes of American Romantic literature, or, by interpreting their sometimes subversive subtexts, as successors to it. As elsewhere (England, Germany, France), literary Romanticism had its counterpart in American visual arts, most especially in the exaltation of untamed America found in the paintings of the Hudson River School.

Painting

Painters like Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church and others often combined a sense of the sublime with underlying religious and philosophical themes. Thomas Cole's paintings feature strong narratives as in The Voyage of Life series painted in the early 1840s that depict man trying to survive amidst an awesome and immense nature, from the cradle to the grave.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Leatherstocking Tales" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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