Explain the American literary movement known as “Romanticism."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that you can start discussing how the overall ideas of Romanticism in England were present in its American counterpart.  The overall stress on emotions and how an emotional frame of reference needs to be embraced were present in both.  A significant difference between both variations was the role of egalitarianism, something that was not as present in Europe as it was in America.  Another significant difference in the American version of Romanticism was its "newness."  America, in contrast to the setting of European Romanticism, was very new and its definition was still being sought.  Writers like Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman were seeking to bring a new definition to America.  Their writing is composed with some fo this idea in mind, that their work could go very far in providing definition and giving words to the American experience.  I think that the same tenets of seeking to inject emotions into daily consciousness, the need to assert individuality over the realm of conformist society, and to ensure that the subjective can bring out the objective are present in both European and American Romanticism.

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