Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson: Poets Who Shaped the Romantic Era
The Romantic Era was a literary movement that ignored the ideologies of classicism, order, and reason that defined literature from the 1600s and throughout the Enlightenment in the 1700s. Being that it was the largest artistic movement of the late 1700s, its influence was distributed across multiple continents through every artistic aspects into the mid-nineteenth century. Many of its values and beliefs are still seen in modern works in today’s literature. The movement brought to a more mysterious, imaginative, and emotional feel across Europe and the Americas. Intertwining with Gothic Literature, Romanticism also introduce a variation of dark and morbid works of art within its subgenre, Dark Romanticism, which brought forth authors and poets like those of Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe who often wrote about death and had the ability to draw abstract concepts with concrete images. Romanticism ultimately accounts for modern American emphasis on the individual, the rights of privacy, and the idea of dreams becoming reality.
Edgar Allan Poe isone of the most well known American Romantic who heavily took part in and influenced Gothic Literature. His poems and short stories explore a dark side of the Romantic imagination, dealing with deformations, supernatural entities, morbid ideology, and horrific ordeals. Poe also rejected the rational and the intellectual and closely connected with the instinctive and emotional characteristics of the Romantic Movement. Poe often emphasized that discussing the truths of opinions and reasonable elements did not have a place in artistic works. He believed that art should be closely interweave with the emotions, since the greatest works of art often had a direct impact on one’s emotions. A scholar named Rob Velella states that “Dark Romantic writers are willing to portray these evil sides of mankind – the murderous, the abusive, the guilt-ridden, the sinful, the ambitious” and Poe thoroughly distributes these themes throughout his works, like “The Cask of Amontillado” which excellently summarizes the idea of Dark Romanticism, focusing on mental insanity and physical horror.
Beginning his story with “The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as best I could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge…I must not punish, but punish with impunity” (Poe, 14), suggests to the readers that one of the story’s main themes will have to do with the acts of revenge which is typically conveyed by murder in the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The darkness and emotional aspects of this particular story make it a great case in point of Romanticism since it contains the horror and sin that is appropriately associated with this particular movement. In Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’, displays the narrator as a man that makes rash decisions influenced by his intuition and emotion. The idea of ignoring one’s rational and intellectual thoughts in favor of one’s own emotions conforms with the elements of romantic writing. The Dark Romanticism period has been defined by G. R. Thompson, an English professor at Purdue University, who has published many studies of Edgar Allan Poe, including Poe’s Fiction: Romantic Irony in the Gothic Tales, Essays and Reviews of Edgar Allan Poe.
Thompson’s perception of the Dark Romanticism period has been sated as, “Fallen man’s inability fully to comprehend haunting reminders of another, supernatural realm that yet seemed not to exist, the constant perplexity of inexplicable and vastly metaphysical phenomena, a propensity for seemingly perverse or evil moral choices that had no firm or fixed measure or rule, and a sense of nameless guilt combined with a suspicion the external world was a delusive projection of the mind—these were major elements in the vision of man the Dark Romantics opposed to the mainstream of Romantic thought. ” which is a valid description of the work of Poe, including “The Tell-Tale Heart”. Another example of works that shaped the Romantic literary movement is the variety of poems by Emily Dickinson. In her poem, “Because I Could Not Stop For Death”, based on the death of her cousin who unexpectedly passed when she went for a carriage ride with a male caller, relates to Romanticism since it stresses intense emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing emphasis on emotions like those of sadness, horror, and the wonder encountered when confronting the sublimity of nature.
Her first stanza kicks off the poem with, “Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me; the carriage held but Just ourselves and immortality. ” Which is a true depiction of characteristics of literature in romantic era. “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” is one of Dickinson’s most popular poems that identify the topic of mental health. It is said that Dickinson, suffered eye trouble and, had agoraphobic tendencies. Some seem to think that either her anxiety or depression may have inspired this poem. While using the elements associated with romanticism including gothic references, Dickinson establishes a real subject matter with romantic elements, however, her poems are unpredictable and left open to interpretation by the reader. Starting with someone who is presumed to be dead but isn’t implies “I felt a funeral, in my brain”. Ending with what appears to be a soul detaching from a corpse. The similar writing is displayed in “I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died” since it begins with a person being conscience of death, however, in the last stanzas “And then the windows failed-And then I could not see to see” is the same type of detachment from the body. Emily Dickinson challenged the definitions of poetry and illustrate Dark Romanticism. The fact that she led an increasingly reclusive life, affected by depression, and never was successful during her lifetime, yet, was able to produce prolific writing placed her on a literary step-stool and paved the way for other women writers to follow. While Edgar Allan Poe simultaneously explored the psychology of the conscious and subconscious mind. Many of Poe’s works were the very definition of Dark Romanticism, and dove into the realm of Gothic Fiction with tales of horror, morbidity, and madness, which earned him the title of the “Father” of The Detective Story. The end of the literary period was marked by the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837, and the introduction of the Victorian Period. Rather than embracing politics and philosophies like some other eras might have, the Romantics looked to nature and their emotions for self-fulfillment. They turned away from the ideals of previous eras, welcoming and embracing new ways of expressing one’s imagination and feelings. Instead of concentrating on the intellectual focus of reason, they preferred to rely on the self, in the radical idea of individual freedom.
America is experiencing a huge increase in wealth disparity, with,”the wealthiest 1 percent of families in the United States holding about 40 percent of all wealth and the bottom 90 […]
Critical theories play a very vital role in the interpretation of any literal work. The prime purpose of each critical theory in literature is to assist readers in understanding the […]
The Hunger Games is a coming out of age novel about teenagers living in a complex society. The teenagers have to participate in dangerous games to please the public. They […]
With the author being born in Salem, Massachusetts, Hawthorne’s short story is bound to be somewhat mystical. Salem’s tradition of witchcraft and its persecution is well known, and Hawthorne’s family […]
My essay will be on the similarities between Young Goodman Brown and The Yellow Wallpaper. Both stories seem to have a very dark theme, while also settling. They are both […]
The psychological archetypes within Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown emulate how one’s social relationships can crumble as culture is imbued with judgement. The Puritan society, portrayed by the causes of […]
Colorism is defined as a form of prejudice typically from members of the same race in which people are treated based on their social economic status from cultural implications related […]
Maya Lin, an adored architect, once said, “The American Dream is being able to follow your own personal calling. To be able to do what you want to do is […]
Romanticism era, an intellectual, artistic, and literature movement that started officially in the 18th century, more specifically in 1798 through 1870. This movement mostly took place in Europe, mostly used […]
The Romantic Era was a literary movement that ignored the ideologies of classicism, order, and reason that defined literature from the 1600s and throughout the Enlightenment in the 1700s. Being […]