|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||American literature Writers Romantic literature|
Romanticism was one of the epical eras in the history of literary art in the United States of America. It was marked by a clear shift from realism towards imagination and boundlessness. In this era, artists and authors tried as much as possible to elevate human beings, their subconscious minds, passions, and inner life. It was a clear rejection of neoclassicism and was based on emphasizing strong emotion, imagination, freedom from classical correctness in all forms of art, and detestation of social conventions. Washington Irving and James Fennimore are two romantic artists whose writings inspired the American literary field, and artists started painting landscapes that showcased the history of America and the beauty of the land.
Even though some factions may question whether Washington Irving was a Romantic writer, it is clear from the nature of his literary works. He was among the pioneer notable fiction writers during the American romantic era. In his two stories, Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Irving adequately integrated romantic depictions and descriptions. He uses great detail to describe the characters in writing. For instance, in Rip Van Winkle, the author describes the protagonist, Rip romantically. He notes, "Rip was a simple, good-natured man, a kind neighbor, and an obedient hen-pecked husband" (Irving 275). Various elements of romanticism come out in all of Irving's literature. He characteristically uses placid scenes, creates a sense of wonder, and exudes optimism, which points to their romantic nature.
Just like Irving, James Fennimore too was a great romance writer. In his writing, Last of the Mohicans, there was a great use of romantic ideals such as idealizing how man relates to nature. His works embody a particular emphasis on heroic simplicity and fervent descriptions of nature (Verhoeven 139). The focus of Fennimore's novels was mainly about nature, man and his interactions with nature, which are fundamental aspects of romanticism. This means that the writings provided an account of the real-life occurrences in the then 18th and 19th century United States (Verhoeven 110). Most of Cooper's novels are set on the western frontier and had various historical events. For instance, the novel The Last of the Mohicans is set during the French and Indian War.
Despite having inclinations towards romanticism, the writings of Irving and Cooper have specific fundamental literary differences. Cooper, in his writings, encapsulates the history of America without a particular focus on the culture of the people (Verhoeven 9). For instance, the books are set in North America and use Indian tribes as characters. They are also set on a social background of the great wars and westward migration as social background. At best, the novels relive the history of 1740 to 1804 America. This makes the book a great asset in American writing. On the other hand, Irving tries to trace the changes that occurred in the United States of America and how they impacted the socio-economic space therein. In fact in Rip Van Winkle, he inadvertently bemoaned how the Revolution drastically changed America from a paradise to center of political intrigues and commercial activities. In his memorable works, Irving brought together European influences and American settings and characters. In doing so, the writings bridged European literary traditions and authentic American characters and society. Therefore, he quintessentially reflected on the ideal American culture.
Irving, W., (2018). Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories. Newburyport: Dover Publications.
Verhoeven, W. M., (1993). James Fenimore Cooper: New historical and literary contexts. Amsterdam: Atlanta.
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