Literatura de los EEUU hasta 1850 (2017)Apunte Inglés
Prof. Francisco José Cortés Vieco
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INTRODUCTION TO NORTHAMERICAN LITERATURE
Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850
Unit 1: Introduc=on to North American Literature: Spanish and Portuguese
discovers and explorers (Christopher Columbus, Bartolomé de las Casas, Cabeza
de Vaca and John Smith)
1. Historical context: 1492 and the discovery of the “New Con=nent” by Christopher Columbus.
Diﬀerent seElements in America
It is worldwide known that the ﬁrst Europeans who landed on America were the Spaniards. Guided
by the Italian Christopher Columbus when sailing to India and ﬁnancially helped by the Catholic
Monarchs of Spain Isabella I of Cas=le and Ferdinand II of Aragon. As menBoned, Christopher
Columbus actually thought he had discovered a new way to sailing to India by crossing the AtlanBc
Ocean to the West, so they did not sail on Portuguese route. Although his theory could have been
successful (despite the fact that America was in between Europe and India), any European
monarch risked his money in helping the Italian. Any monarch, but Isabella of CasBle, who the very
same 1492 conquered the last muslim region of the Peninsula: Granada. AOer that, the idea of
increasing her power by trading with India1 .
Although Spain was the ﬁrst kingdom which conquered or colonised the “Americas,” there were
many other seRlements in South America by Portugal and in North America by France,
Netherlands, Germany and England. However, each of these European kingdoms had alike
purposes. For instance, Spain’s aim was to chrisBanise the uncivilised inhabitants the conBnent as
well as to get raw materials such as gold, silver, coﬀee, cacao, etc. On the other hand, English
colonisers’ aim was slightly diﬀerent. England suﬀered a constant religious war between several
protestant branches, so they were sent to America. In addiBon, the climate condiBons of the
southern regions of the current United States made easier the producBon of diﬀerent crops which
were traded to several kingdoms of Europe. As expected, this vast variety of naBonaliBes and
interests made the cohabitaBon highly diﬃcult and caused many wars and confrontaBons.
It is true that America was “discovered” by Spain, however, can it be said that they were the
only human beings up there? When Spaniards landed on La Española (Dominican Republic), they
found that there were some kind of civilisaBon with dark skin and estrange customs. Therefore,
there was a mutual discovery between Europeans and naBve Americans. Spaniards killed many of
them, ripped their women and destroyed a lot of their ciBes. Instead, they built up churches and
obliged them to learn Spanish and believe in a unique god. Not only Central and South America
was populated, but also North America. These NaBve Americans received many of the protestant
communiBes of Europe and seemingly treated them well. Nevertheless, once these communiBes
India was at the moment one of the richest regions on Earth of raw materials such as spices, teas, etc.
2 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 were properly set and wanted to expand their territory, NaBve Americans were expelled to the West and North and also reduced their populaBon. Another relevant issue in the New ConBnent was the slavery. Many slaves from Africa were sent to America in order to build up buildings (pracBcally, ciBes) and also take care of the crops. Slavery was in America for centuries (16th to 19th Century) and even aOer abolished it, racism conBnues in many communiBes being punished. BriBsh expediBons were not as successful as the Spanish or Portuguese ones. They did suﬀer several shipwrecks so that they could not actually get on America unBl the 1570s. During this decade, BriBsh explorers were sent to North America following diﬀerent routs and in addiBon, Elizabeth I was rich enough to opening new expediBons. Some of the names of these explorers were Frobisher, Drake, Raleigh and Gilbert. Seemingly, the ﬁrst BriBsh colony in America was Roanoke, founded by Raleigh. AOer three years of conquest and seRlement, the colonisers who lived there disappeared likely due to the Anglo-Saxon war or a ship-wreak. There are no evidences of any cause, though. This disappearance was the reason why Roanoke was called “the Lost Colony.” Therefore, it cannot be said that Britain was set in North America unBl 1607, with the foundaBon of Jamestown, Virginia. 2. The origins of North American Literature un=l 1620s: Spanish wri=ngs Since the United States were not founded unBl 1776 with the DeclaraBon of Independence, it cannot be talked about American literature before. What historians and literary invesBgators have found are some documents, leRers and some poems and tales. The ﬁrst conquerors who wrote something in North America were the Spaniards, so that students will ﬁnd these documents in Spanish. The lack of novels (or the liRle amount of them) is basically due to the thirsBness for new territories and the constant baRles among the alike seRlers. These stories and leRers were mostly autobiographical and someBmes private. Spanish colonisers used to send leRers to their families since they could not ship with them to America. In addiBon, monarchs had to be noBced of how the expediBons were going on. During the 16th Century, there are some leRers and documents which consBtute the so-called shipwreck literature. As the name suggests, this literature will be stories and personal tesBmonies about shipwrecks during the BriBsh voyages. These high-value tesBmonies were an inspiraBonal source for playwrights like William Shakespeare, who, inspired by one of these leRers and stories, composed The Tempest. 3 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 An important body of wriBngs of exploraBons by BriBsh colonisers were easily spread by the prinBng industry. At that parBcular Bme, these documents could be printed out by anyone without the permission of the Church of England, so there were many wriBngs out about the explorers’ adventures. This is the reason why prinBng made the colonisaBon of America easier. these wriBngs told stories about brave men who sailed out to the unknown and found several “creatures” and exoBc stuﬀ. Nevertheless, it cannot be forgot that American expediBons were highly devastaBng and populaBon (monarchs included) started to think about the ethical aspect and the mistreaBng NaBve Americans were receiving. WriBngs will discuss the monarchs’ policies and the unjusBﬁed acBons of the explorers. Monarchs make documents to selng policies whereas colonisers will try to jusBfy their acBons by sending leRers to Europe. The third type of wriBng during these ﬁrst years of exploraBon were the wriBngs of witness. Since some Europeans sailed back to the Old ConBnent, they tended to tell their expediBons and adventures in America, so they will write down these stories as witnesses. As well as the other leRers, these tesBmonies caused several debates about being in for or against the colonisaBon of America. Some of these witnesses were Álvaro Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, Bartolomé de las Casas or John Smith. As menBoned, the ﬁrst “literary” document in America was wriRen in Spanish, and it was wriRen by the same Christopher Columbus to Luis de Santangel in 1493. These leRers were translated into many languages and the most important ones discuss the problems Spaniards had in the colony of La Española. The second American writer can be considered Bartolomé de las Casas, also known as the ﬁrst supporter of the NaBve Americans. De las Casas ﬁrst met Columbus in Seville when this last one showed some items from the colonies which absolutely amazed de las Casas. AOer several voyages to America and having turning into a priest, he confessed the crimes commiRed by Spaniards in the East Indies. Although his denunciaBons were successful and some laws against the NaBve Americans mistreaBng were set, he sentenced African slaves into centuries of slavery. In 1552, Bartolomé de las Casas published The Very Brief Rela3on of the Devasta3on of the Indies. De las Casas was quite clear when denouncing the atrociBes made by the European conquerors who just looked for wealth and might. This document was translated into some languages such as English or Dutch — noBce that the respecBve kingdoms of these two languages were the Netherlands and England so that it increased their rivalry at America —. De las Casas’ ﬁrst work was turned into a weapon against the Spanish crown and an absolute humiliaBon for Spain. The third “American” writer is considered to be Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (1490-1558). Cabeza de Vaca was one of the ﬁrst explorers in North America and the ﬁrst who probably 4 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 reported about the NaBve Americans and their tradiBons. His most relevant wriBng is Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America (1542). Cabeza de Vaca’s route started up at Caribbean Islands and moved throughout the south of Florida, going over Mississippi and ﬁnally reaching Mexico. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca’s adventure begins when departed from Spain in 1520s decade in order to explore Florida. His colleague during this expediBon was Pánﬁlo de Narvaez and another 400 men. Narvaez did declared himself the governor of Saratoga Bay and later on abandoned his tribulaBon. Everybody who was leO decided to follow Cabeza de Vaca since he was one of the main explorers. Although many other men died due to hungry and tropical diseases, Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca conBnued his journey and did reach Florida. Since Cabeza de Vaca was kidnaped by some 5 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Indian tribes, he observed their behaviour and costumes (which will be lately recorded in his previously named work). Indeed, this work is a collecBon of leRers supposed to be sent to the Spanish king Charles V. Through these texts, Cabeza de Vaca does not show at all NaBve Americans as savages, but do his own men who betrayed him. Therefore, it can be said that the writer is found as an observer and not as a hero. ObjecBvity is slightly found in the wriBng, though the explorer shows himself so curious that he constantly adds observer notes and adjecBves of opinion. In addiBon, Cabeza de Vaca jusBﬁes the exploraBon of the conBnent and suggests a deeper expediBon up to the reach of the coast. A very incredible fact is that at some very Bme of his journey, this Spanish conqueror is ﬁnally seen and appreciated by NaBve Americans since he is thought to be a kind of “healer.” This appreciaBon and approach is possible because of his dominion of the tribes’ languages and the knowledge of their costumes. Deﬁnitely, his expediBon along with Narvaez was rather bad, whereas his exploraBon and his leader-spirit led him ﬁnding out new cultures which once seemed to scared Europeans. 3. First English SeElements: Jon Smith and The General History of Virginia The ﬁrst monarch in succeeding in the colonisaBon of North America was Elizabeth I, who granted paRerns to promoBng expediBons to the New ConBnent. These ﬁrst expediBons took place in Virginia, colony named like this in honour of the Virgin Queen. Elizabeth I’s successor was James I, the Stuart King who followed a diﬀerent type of colonisaBon. It was the Bme of (male) heroes; men who face the unexplored and challenged death for their kingdom. Therefore, it will be born a new archetype of hero: the adventurer of the colonies. Although England lacked of economic support, the king James I wanted to conBnue the expansion across the AtlanBc. Luckily, there were some private companies that supported economically the expediBons and assessments in the New World. Their aim was ﬁnding gold, silver, copper and other metals found by the Spaniards or the Portuguese. Since the very ﬁrst moment, this vast territory was divided into two parts: the North and the South. The reason of this division was to make the expediBons easier. Virginia Joint Stock Company stablished seRlements throughout the eastern coast of North America. This company was divided in joint into two companies: the Virginia Company of London (which founded Jamestown in 1607) and the Virginia Company of Plymouth (which founded New England). Since it was a company, the English Crown let the Virginia Company ruling over the colonies by a self-government. 6 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Hundreds of seRlers arrived to James River, where life was not easy at all due to the great quanBty of diseases, naBve Americans and hungry. As menBoned before, explorers’ aim was to ﬁnd metals so did Spaniards, but since they did not ﬁnd anything, English colonisers had to move further to the West up to the Spanish and French borders between Mississippi River and Appalachian Mounts. Since the English seRlers did not ﬁnd gold, nor silver, they decided to export other materials such as coRon, Bnder or tobacco. Colonies were organised in assemblies. This form of order facilitates quite a lot the control of the large territories occupied by the Englishmen and later on will be a reason for independence claiming. Unfortunately, this life of self-government did not last so long since Stuarts, despite their guarantee of not controlling the colonies, ﬁnally set Virginia as a crown colony. HereaOer, Virginia belongs to the BriBsh Empire in America. John Smith (1580-1631) was known for being a volunteer soldier during the Dutch-Spanish war. AOer that, Smith got involved into the Virginia Company to moving to Jamestown. Although he was sentenced to death during his voyage, he became the governor of the most important city of the colonies: Jamestown. During his expediBon, he was captured by Powhatan’s tribe. During his capBvity, he was once again sentenced to death by the NaBve Americans and later on released thanks to Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas. AOer his exploraBon period in the colonies, John Smith sailed back to England where he composed some wriBngs about his expediBon in North America. John Smith was geographer and historian to some extent. His main study ﬁeld was obviously the colonisaBon of the New ConBnent by England and the descripBon of the land and American communiBes. In 1608, when living in Virginia, he wrote the ﬁrst book in English which can be considered American: The true Rela3on of such Occurrences and Accidents of Note as Hath Happened in Virginia. Sixteen years later, in 1624, John Smith wrote General History of Virginia, New England and Summer Isles. Through his texts, readers can noBce John Smith was literate due to his menBons and quotes of famous and remarkable authors such as Seneca, for instance. Despite the importance of religion at the Bme, Smith did not show such vocaBon to God, but focused on adventurous and descripBve topics. Along with his literacy, it can also be found his clear individualism. Smith does describe himself as an adventurer and a proper hero who faces the uncanny and defeats his enemies. This is the reason why he cannot be considered objecBve at all. The explorer also describes himself as a self-made, aggressive and proud man. According to his texts, John Smith represents the so-called ‘Manifest Des=ny,’ which claimed the Europeans’ right to conquer the New World in order to ‘civilise’ its inhabitants and if needed, exterminate the resistants. 7 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 When reading his texts, readers can ﬁnd several military terms which can be explained by his military formaBon and, in addiBon, some words from NaBve American’s languages. His literature or documentaries are deﬁnitely classiﬁed as travelling narra=ve. A very remarkable feature of this writer is his constant use of the third person narrator. The reason why Smith uses this form may be to contribute more credibility and consequently an objecBve point of view (unachievable, though). Despite this preference, John Smith’s texts are propaganda and self-promoBon texts. In addiBon, Smith uses these texts to jusBfy his acts and prove his leadership beyond his colleges. This self-promoBon and egocentrism is clearly detected during his adventures at Virginia River when he ﬁnds new crops and food for his followers. Later on, he is captured by the “savages” whose descripBons are either proporBoned. At this very moment of his expediBon, he wants readers to wonder what is going on with him: whether he will survive or not. Smith compares the English poliBcal organisaBon with the tribe’s one. It is really interesBng his capBvity moment because the explorer will be constantly adding new informaBon about these tribes and their customs. For instance, Smith makes interpretaBons of their acts as when they apparently celebrated a ceremony to receive him. On the other hand, the writer adds that the ceremony could have meant to be sacriﬁce for their gods. The ﬁrst appariBon of Pocahontas is in John Smith’s wriBngs. The “savage” appears at the very moment he seemed to be sentenced to death. She is described as a diﬀerent Indian who sBll has faith in humanity and reckons Smith could not be as bad as her tribe thought. Regardless her tribe’s opinion, she is married to a tobacco planter and later on sent to London where she dies. 8 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 PART 2 COLONIAL AMERICA (1620-1743) 9 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 2: SeElement Narra=ves: a ‘New Eden’ and ‘the American Dream.’ Pre-Na=onal Literature: Puritans and Pilgrims-William Bradford (1590-1675) 1.
Pilgrims’ and Puritan’s arrival to the New World Between 1620 and 1630, North American colonies began receiving new arrivals of dissenters like the Pilgrim and Puritan communiBes. The ﬁrst ones were set in Plymouth (New England), whereas the second ones stablished their seRlements in Boston. Their reasons and moBves for sailing out England were many, but the most remarkable one was the lack of religious freedom. The Stuarts did not want to be controlled by these radical religious communiBes since the only true protestant branch in the kingdom was Anglicanism. Due to this situaBon, the king decided that these dissenters could be sent to the New ConBnent in order to not disturb in England. In this case, Pilgrims and Puritans were a rentable deal since they did not disturb in England and worked the lands England owned in America. The ﬁrst voyage made by the ﬁrst Pilgrim’s community was on the famous Mayﬂower to Cape Cod. Although the iniBal plan was to be set down in Virginia, pilgrims thought they could be more free up the North, out the control of the Virginia Company. The oﬃcial arrival was November 9th 1620. Since the weather was not as good as they expected, they moved up north to MassachuseRs, where they founded Plymouth. The proper Puritan ChrisBanity was absolutely based on the Bible, the only book full of truths on Earth, and an intense religious life (convenance with God). A true puritan must redeem himself in his/her own condiBon; aOer life is absolutely important and worthier than life on Earth. Obviously, any kind of entertaining was permiRed in Puritan communiBes since they were “banned” by the Bible. Of course, sex for pleasure was also forbidden; puritans could only have sex with reproducBve purposes. This Puritan life style was, therefore, living devoted to God through a modest and simple way of life. No everyone could join the Puritan Church but only those who have been converted through autobiographical conversion narraBves. This tests candidates had to undergo consisted in providing a wriRen tesBmony and showing a full devoBon for God as result. Puritan dogmas were inﬂuenced by MarBn Luther’s and John Calvin’s ideas of the free elecBon of the elected and condemned ones by the Lord. Therefore, all of us are predesBnated. The two main Puritan covenants were the Covenant of Grace and Work. This last one said that Adan could have been immortal and lived in the Paradise if only he had obeyed God. Since he does 10 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 not obey God’s commandment, Adan is consequently expelled from the Paradise. On the other hand, the Covenant of Grace is the covenant between God and humanity which was established by Christ at the Atonement. Puritanism is, to a certain extent, a way of living within people’s mind. This protestant religion is also about joy and happiness in the Other Life aOer a great sacriﬁce in this earthly life. Puritan writers tried to express their devoBon and meditaBon to God through sermons. In 1692, the famous WitchcraO Trials took place in Salem. The reasons why women and girls were accused of witchcraO were loads. Firstly, Puritan life was highly boring and they tried to ﬁnd out ways of distracBon; secondly, the rivalry among diﬀerent families about having the whitest or best clothes or even the best crops. Regardless these accusaBons in North America, this kind of anonymous accusaBons were made in the Old ConBnent as well, so were in Spain during the InquisiBon period. It is true that women suﬀered of hysteria and other disorders which made them seemed to be possessed by the Devil. At trials, no evidence was needed to prove their innocence or guilBness, they were simply burnt up at the stake or drop to the river Bll drowning. 2. The American Dream The American Dream, a so-heard concept nowadays, is directly related to Puritanism. Puritans’ percepBon of the New ConBnent was extremely religious since they thought they were travelling to the New Eden. What a simple trip to anywhere may result for us something common, it did mean something alike to these religious groups. They were not only reaching religious freedom, but also the Promised Land and the opportunity to become beRer ChrisBans. According to the descripBons of the Eden Garden from the Bible, Puritans expected a land full of plants and crops. Unfortunately, they followed the descripBons from Spanish explorers in southerner regions of America, not in the cold and desolate north. The ﬁrst utopia of these lands was wriRen by Thomas More in 1516. More represented a place out of the current life in order to feel beRer with himself. A hundred years laRer, puritans interpreted this utopian wriBngs as a new possibility to achieve what God commanded them: ﬁnd the new Jerusalem. America was, therefore, considered a new opportunity, rehearsal and freedom out the restricBng Europe. Due to the vast quanBty of languages spoken over North America (Spanish, German, Dutch, French, English, NaBve American languages, etc.), puritans thought the best soluBon was to establish a unique and oﬃcial language. This language was for sure English. This oﬃcial agreement made things easier: everyone could communicate easily without linguisBc misunderstandings; the control of the inhabitants was successful since everyone understood the bills and laws; puritans 11 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 could spread out their sermons and wri=ngs in a same language. This last consequence is key, since we philologists are going to focus on the texts wriRen in English. Previously, the only wriBngs found in America were composed in Spanish. However, with puritans’ arrival this fact is about to change. The ﬁrst publishings and imprints were founded by these puritans so that it can be appreciated how this conBnent is any more a plantaBon-land but a true colony. English was also the language of educaBon, so teachers, lecturers and professors will use English as the lingua franca. English was the teaching language in universiBes such as the University of Cambridge in MassachuseRs (todays Harvard). Linking to the last point of the previous paragraph, educaBon in these puritan colonies was basically the teaching of the Bible. It is highly important to reinforce the fact that the Bible is the unique tesBmony of God, Jesus and the Disciples chrisBans have on Earth. Therefore, everyone must completely understand (and even memorise) this book. According to this absolute trust in the Bible, everyone in the puritan community must obey what God commands and never forget that human beings are predesBnated so that God sends suﬀering and faming for a speciﬁc reason. 3. Pilgrim’s writers: William Bradford (1590-1657) William Bradford was the ﬁrst pilgrim writer from the Plymouth colony who wrote in English language. Bradford was born in Yorkshire (England), where he was raised in a poor family which educated him following the protestant model. Pilgrims promoted a complete separaBon between Church and State. However, it was absolutely rejected by the King of England. Since the King did not accept such separaBon and consequently marginated them, Bradford had to scape along with his colleges to the New ConBnent. They were called pilgrims because of the pilgrimage they set forth on America in order to ﬁnd puriﬁcaBon and peace. This dissent community sailed on the famous Mayﬂower in order to reach the coasts of Virginia. Unfortunately, aOer a terrible and risky journey across the AtlanBc, they reached the coasts of Cape Cod full of wilderness and terrible weather. Consequently, pilgrims felt the necessity of moving up north up to reaching a region they called Plymouth. In fact, they were out the orders of the Virginia Company, so they could enjoy even more freedom. Once set in Plymouth, they founded the Mayﬂower Compact2 . The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by the male passengers of the Mayflower, consisting of separatist Congregationalists who called themselves "Saints", and adventurers and tradesmen, most of whom were referred to by the Separatists as “Strangers." 2 12 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 History of Plymouth Planta3on (1657) is the ﬁrst wriBng by William Bradford and probably the most relevant document composed by pilgrims. Bradford divided this book into two volumes: Book I and Annals. Bradford thought that the pilgrim community and hard work must absolutely coexist since it is clearly what God asks in the Bible. In this book, Bradford gathers the misfortunes of the risky pilgrimage to America through the AtlanBc Ocean and constantly thanks God for everything. As in many trips of this kind, there were many deaths due to diseases, faming or dizziness. It is very important to take into account, that Bradford (and so did pilgrims and puritans in general) thought that those who were not chosen by God could not land on the Promised land. In Chapter IX, Bradford focusses on the struggle against negaBve and brave elements such as storms and winds. As menBoned, Pilgrims were manipulated by God and sent to America for a speciﬁc purpose: create the new Jerusalem. For this pilgrim writer, sinners have no place in God’s heaven, but, fortunately, there is salvaBon for them if they repent their sins. William Bradford describes in his wriBngs the ﬁrst impression Pilgrims had of this territory as a hosBle and dangerous place. Despite the dangers and problems, this community sBll had faith in God’s command and they were thanked for that. In Chapter X, the writer tells the story of the famous Thanksgiving Day. Therefore, we are in front of the ﬁrst document about this celebraBon which sBll makes menBon to the pilgrims who landed on America and the Indians who helped them. According to Bradford, pilgrims spent the whole summer planBng, collecBng and preparing provisions for the winter season. AOer their arrival to America, pilgrims ﬁnally got a successful harvest in November. This fact meant hope and success in the New World, so that pilgrims decided to celebrate a huge fest by inviBng the NaBve Americans who taught them how to plant and get food from nature. Nowadays, this tradiBon keeps on being celebrated each fourth Thursday of November, though it is loosing its religious meaning. Heroism and limelight in this type of writers is not found at all since, basically, the only one whom merit can be aRributed in the pilgrim and puritan world is God. It can be appreciated how the writer opts for using the ﬁrst person narrator, something which, together to the religious environment, makes his texts loose credibility. Usage of biblical references to relate to their experiences in the New World so that Bradford argues God’s plan for them: their voyage was wriRen many years ago. It is something very typical to introduce the reader to the biblical readings through these testaments and of course make pilgrims know that they are undertaking such voyage for God’s grace. There is either a humble mode of expression and simple style in order to instruct current people about God’s commandments. Bradford’s aim seems to be to instruct parishioners by simplifying his texts and making them understand everything in detail. 13 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 5: The Puritan Mission and New England Puritanism: John Winthrop, Thomas Shepard and Jonathan Edwards 5. Puritan writers: John Winthrop, Jonathan Edwards andThomas Shepard 5.1. John Winthrop (1588-1649) John Winthrop was a member of the ﬁrst puritan community which emigrated to North America with the Company of MassachuseRs. As pilgrims did, Winthrop aRributed their salvaBon as God’s commandment and tried to establish a biblical life-style. It means that puritans followed the Bible’s readings as lessons of how to live properly by creaBng a new socio-poliBcal and religious order based on philanthropy, charity and equality. ReconciliaBon between the good for individuals and the good for the community. This means that every member of a pilgrim community must work for the beneﬁts of the community. Therefore, Bradford believed that creaBng a community was a voluntary agreement with God; the writer was willing to see a ChrisBan-Puritan community wherein members helped each other by not feeling obligated: pilgrims as an example for the rest of the world. The idea of leadership and being an example for the whole world is closely related to the American Dream and the manifest des=ny3. According to some historians, Winthrop’s most famous sermon was the city upon a hill, sentence also found in the Bible. Indeed, this city upon a hill was thought to be Boston. This locaBon obviously deals with a close approach to God as that city could have been seen by everyone around. Nonetheless, this idilic place is not as easily found as in the Bible and so do the people who are supposed to live within. Riches do not take advantage against the poor ones since brotherly love and the grace of God are enough moBvaBon to maintain a humble harmony. It is extremely important to take into account that puritanism in literature is absolutely ruled by individualism. Puritans worked hard for their own salvaBon, though it is true that they helped each other. This is the reason why this claim for brotherhood will get lost and transformed into a lack of charity and humanity. In the 19th century, manifest destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that its settlers were destined to expand across North America. There are three basic themes to manifest destiny: 3 14 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 5.2. Thomas Shepard (1605-49) Thomas Shepard’s main literary texts were two: Autobiography and Journal. This last one holds the typical puritan self-promoBon purposes which have been studied throughout this theme, whereas the autobiographies found in the ﬁrst one can be considered texts about puritans and how God chose them as the “elected ones.” Besides, Shepard and other puritan writers spread out this idea in order to become an example for other believers. Topics in this type of writers do not go further than God, sins and death. Although the idea of “death” as something fearful is generalised in the enBre Old and New ConBnents, Shepard tried to show death as something moBvaBng. According to puritans’ dogmas, once they pass away, they will live a beRer life out of suﬀering and beside God. Life is a blessing thanks God, though a beRer life waited for them and it will be in the very moment of death when all their acBvity in the earthly life will be punished or rewarded. By this usage of metaphors and hard topics, Shepard tries to ﬁnd his texts didacBc and encourage other to converse and redeem of their sins. In addiBon, it can be appreciated how the puritan writer is not sure at all whether every puritan is sinless. 5.3. Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) Jonathan Edwards is the ﬁrst male North-American writer of this study. Edwards was born in the colony of ConnecBcut in 1703. The writer was absolutely surrounded by famous puritans such as his own maternal grandfather who was reverend Soloman Stoddard or Thomas Shepard. In his literature, several references and features of movements like the empiricism by famous English philosophers like John Locke became strongly inﬂuenBal on Edwards with ideas such as the evident through senses, ra=onalism or the early Enlightenment will be found, so that his narraBve may result a bit philosophical either. Although these movements are claimed by science, Jonathan Edwards will not only agree but add them a theological reason. This is why when Newton elaborated the gravity law, Edwards thought it was a God’s plan. All this absolutely links to another movement running at the age called deism, which promoted reason as the main way to achieve God’s knowledge. Puritans believed that everyone could experience God through reason, likewise revelaBon through the Bible. Something to take into account is that this minister broke with his grandfather’s halfway covenant which pretended to open a bit more their community to other thinkings and people. Edwards did think salvaBon was not for everyone who just is bapBsed, since it is actually a giO given by God’s grace. 15 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (1741) One of the most important discourse by Jonathan Edwards is deﬁnitely Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. Through this speech, Edwards defends and even created new puritan rules and condiBons puritans should take into account if wanted to go to Heaven and be forgiven by God. Although it was thought to be a speech for his sermons, with Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God Jonathan Edwards experimented with the literary connotaBons of the age so that he tried to give a more literary aspect. The author uses several images of Hell and consequently shows the vulnerability of human beings who absolutely lost the control of their lives. These rhetorical strategies’ aim were basically awake his audience in a spiritual way. According to Edwards, the Enlightenment caused a state of relaxaBon in believers so that they did not feel fear of God’s angriness and the sins they were commilng. Therefore, what the author will be constantly saying through this text is that every believer over there should “wake up” and converse, redeem of their sins. Great amount of exaggeraBons throughout his sermon in order to cause a greater impact on his readers. By these exaggeraBons, everyone felt something, emoBons sprang out believers and felt guilty of their sins. People did become mad and scandalous. However, many puritan theologists criBcised this sermon because of its danger on the puritan community. Despite the hardness of his sermon, Jonathan Edwards was deﬁnitely not the typical one by other preachers since he turned to calmness and sinister appearance. Edwards tried to seem scary, sinister, calm in order to cause a greater impact on the audience and impressively it was really eﬀecBve. Sermons were typically represented so that people could stare the performance while the minister was speaking or reading it. Edwards pretended to use a sensorial language from his own sensorial experience so that parishioners could visualise Hell and they inside burning. Image of Hell, ﬁre and brimstone which creates a mental picture to the audience. Hell is seen as a lake where sinners will be in if they do not repent of their sins. Edwards provides a vivid image of the Final Judgement. This sensorial language was absolutely successful because of Edwards’ wriBng skills and psychology. Sermons were typically structured in the following three parts: text, doctrine and applica=on. The text was full of biblical quotaBons with explanaBons by the preacher. The doctrine is basically the enBre thesis, which in the case of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is that nothing is in between Hell and you but God and his Grace. In addiBon, there are ten consideraBons which he develops according to his own doctrine. Finally, the applica=on consists in pracBcal aﬀairs aOer a couple of biblical statements. 16 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Readers and especially parishioners can relate this text to the horror of external salvaBon puritans had and, for sure, those who are not converted. This is the reason why Edwards tries to provide explanaBons about what will happen to every unbeliever if they do not decide to convert and repent of their sins. Jonathan Edwards tries to express all this through the fury and wrath of God, who will surely punish all those who break the covenant with God. The minister pretends to show sinners as if they were standing on a slippery slope which falling leads to Hell. However, these sinners have sBll Bme to repent and ascend to Heaven. At the end of the tunnel, there is merciful and forgiving, though. Believers did not obey at all the commandments given by God so that people began to create and adore other idols which do contaminate God’s ideals. Unfaithfulness must be absolutely punished according to Edwards since believers have forgoRen or misunderstood the pact with God. These believers are corrupt and consequently must be punished by sending them to Hell. Edwards writes passages full of symbols which seem to be suﬃcient to impacBng those who read or listen to the sermon. As menBoned, the minister was a master of symbolism and even provides a sense of kinaesthesia which means sensory experience, sensaBons, bodily eﬀort and tension to those who listened to the sermon. Aim of wanBng parishioners to imagine who falling down to Hell would be like. In order to provoke such sensaBons, the writer uses familiar instances so that listeners could easily visualise Hell. The conclusion of Jonathan Edwards is that God is almighty and the only authority. There is a clear and compulsory need to repent and convert. 17 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 6: Cap=vity Narra=ves: Mary Rowlandson (1637-1711) Mary Rowlandson was a puritan woman who moved to the fronBer between New England and Indian territories. Right there, she was captured and by the NaBve Americans. Mary Rowlandson’s Cap3vity Narra3ves became a typical American narraBve about her capBvity in NaBve American’s tribes. This type of narraBves will be wriRen unBl the 19th Century, so she could be considered the pioneer of this genre. Nonetheless, aOer her wriBngs, capBvity narraBves were likely ﬁcBonal. It is key to noBce the puritan context which arises the importance of God and the Bible. In fact, many of these narraBves were revised by puritan ministers. These women were represented as martyrs of God and their capBviBes were even exaggerated and masculinised by these ministers. Besides, Rowlandson does describe someBmes Indians in a posiBve way despite they had her captured. The author also provides descripBons about Indians’ costumes and tradiBons so that readers can learn about them. The story is contextualised in King Philip’s war, wherein there were baRles against North American tribes and New England. Mary Rowlandson provides another point and version of this event. When Indians arrived and lay waste to its town, she says that there were twelve murders at least including her daughter’s. That very night, she was kidnapped by the same Indians who “invaded” her town. Although the author was a prison, she describes her capBvity as a normal rouBne. It means, she did the same things everyday and was safe thanks God. Weetamoo and Quanopen are a marriage of the tribe wherein Rowlandson is captured. The author shows a clear preference to Weetamoo since she is a woman and treats her well. On the other hand, her husband, Quanopen mistreats Rowlandson and commands her when she disagrees. Something very impressive when reading this stories is that she is provided a Bible, a highly important item for a puritan woman. By the use of removes, Rowlandson shows how NaBve Americans moved as nomads from one place to another, changing their locaBon constantly. Therefore, the reader can ﬁnd kind of chapters distributed in these removes in diﬀerent locaBons throughout New England. This structure is composed of up to twenty removes which do imitate the migraBons to diﬀerent locaBons. The author shows herself as forced to moving as if she were also nomad. These removes are full of descripBons, acBon, dialogue and reﬂecBon of her own opinion. The ﬁrst three modes are quite objecBve in biographies though these descripBons seem to be subjecBve because of the several allusions to God. 18 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Right aOer her release, Mary Rowlandson wrote Sovereignty and Goodness of God, where she talks about the religious aspects of her capBvity which will be later on changed to The History of the Cap3vity and Restora3on of Mary Rowlandson (1682). The author claimed that she wrote these narraBves by herself, so she claimed to be considered an educated and skilled woman. These narraBves were supposed to educate the reader (primarily her friends and family) and make them understand God’s true will. It means that everything, mankind’s lives, is a trial made by God. Although the book was ﬁrst published in England thanks her brother, Mary Rowlandson could be considered the ﬁrst female writer in the colonies. Mary Rowlandson’s style bears a typical puritan style with a lot of allusions to the Bible. The author compares her capBvity with the episode of Jeremiah from the Book of Jeremiah (Old Testament). In this very episode, it is ﬁnd the lamentaBon of Jeremiah because of the fall of the kingdom of Israel. God sends punishments to Israelites which are compared to puritans’ rejecBons in Europe. Puritans usually compare their lives with Biblical episodes, likewise does Rowlandson in her narraBves. The author tells all the tragedies, misfortunes and nightmares she had to go through during her capBvity in order to ﬁnd comfort and consolaBon. Indeed, Rowlandson conﬁrms that these misfortunes are consequences of the break of the covenant with God. It means that God has sent NaBve Americans with punishing purposes. During her capBvity, Rowlandson was not sexually abused though she had to suﬀer some mistreatments by Quanopen. It is highly impressive that she does not only make references to the Bible but to Classical quotes in LaBn. Perhaps because of this lack of sexual abuse, Rowlandson shows an evoluBon of her percepBon of NaBve Americans. In her ﬁrst ediBon, the author strongly criBcises these communiBes and names them as beasts, pagans, monsters, etc. It is not unBl the third ediBon when the author menBons Quanopen as the best friend she could ever have. This last point links to the percepBon the author gets of Indian women, since they have no problems when wearing jewellery and even showing their breasts. This really shocked the puritan author because of her strict rule of wearing no-scandalous clothes. Death, terror and torture are important points to consider in these wriBngs. When NaBve Americans started up the several kidnappings in Lancaster, these inhabitants were tortured and murdered in a cruel way. It was strongly shocking for the author and even harder when one of these murders was her daughter’s. Despite this cruel and hard event in her life, it is here when the author uses a lot of literary allusions full of metaphors. Although Mary Rowlandson shows herself as frightened, she does not do anything special to survive but to integrate and do certain customs. AOer her release, she confesses her diﬃculBes and how she did to calming down thanks to God. Her view of the world changes drasBcally aOer that since her faith becomes stronger. 19 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Her narraBves are classiﬁed as anB-NaBve American propaganda for the Manifest DesBny which claims that Indians are the malignant force which hampers the creaBon of God’s kingdom on Earth. Therefore, this propaganda can be considered as poliBcal. In her narraBve, the author uses the ﬁrst person narrator as a self-portrait of a woman. It is also the expression of the inner self of a puritan woman who does trust God despite the misfortunes he sends her. Through this choice of ﬁrst person narrator, readers can appreciate the expression of her emoBons and feelings, so she is a humble woman. There is endurance thanks to God but Rowlandson never refers herself as a heroin. In her reﬂecBon there are many symbols related to God and ChrisBanity. To a certain extent, the author even accuses English seRlers of being ineﬀecBve and unprepared in this kind of “invasions.” 20 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 7: The “grand-mother” poet: Anne Bradstreet (1612?-72) Anne Bradstreet will ﬁnd religion as a synonym of spiritual happiness. Nonetheless, there is mental conﬂict between idenBBes: public self as a puritan and her inner self as a woman, mother and wife. Bradstreet was clearly an educated woman thanks to her access to libraries in England and her own curiosity in “male” issues such as literature, philosophy or history. She was strongly inﬂuenced by the religious persecuBons in Europe, so the new life in America was seen as an opportunity and a giO. Anne Bradstreet’s main achievement was becoming the main and probably ﬁrst poet of the colonies who could publish during the 17th Century. However, it was her brother in law who took her poems and published them ﬁrst in England. In the preface, he had to state that only he was the only responsible for the publicaBon of the poems, but it was her sister who composed them. He clearly defended his sister when said her sister could both write the poems and not reglet her duBes as a puritan woman. Unfortunately, Bradstreet was forgoRen during two centuries unBl the raise of the feminine movements during the 19th Century. Several Poems completed with great variety of Wit and Learning (1678). There are diﬀerent criBcs, scholars who have doubts about the cannon of North-American literature because of the complexity of her idenBty: being a proper puritan woman or a successful writer. Bradstreet respects the puritans dogmas since she does not menBon any sexual connotaBon, though in her poem Btled To my Dear and Loving Husband she expresses a sexual background to a certain extent. Literary merits due to her psychological division which states that she is a true member of the puritan community whose minister is her own father and she is the submissive wife of a puritan governor. Life in Earth is one of her main worries, something rather strange in a puritan parishioner. Anne Bradstreet clearly reproduces the puritan doctrine through her public voice. On the other hand, she does not the same in her private voce, wherein she shows her devoBon to her husband and her children. AOer these conﬂicts, there is always a soluBon, though. Anne Bradstreet is one of the few writers who recovers during the 17th Century the beauBfulness and wilderness of the American landscape, so she could be considered a kind of preRomanBc poet. When puritans wrote poetry, they used to avoid metaphors and other images because they thought that imaginaBve elements had nothing to do with God and religion. Plain style, modesty and a humble way of wriBng. AﬀecBve language and beauBful connotaBons which were running in Renaissance England were ﬁrstly forbidden in Anne Bradstreet’s poetry. The 21 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 poet rather tried to imitate Classical sources or, obviously, use Biblical quotaBons. Therefore, readers will ﬁnd a strong inﬂuence of puritan writers style. Nevertheless, Bradstreet allows herself ﬁguraBve language and ornamentaBon that other puritan writers did not have. Indeed, Bradstreet is oOen compared with St. Teresa de Avila and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz due to the ambiguity of her language. Anne Bradstreet is a woman with secular problems about love to her husband or the acceptance of her grandson’s death. The evoluBon of her poetry runs from an arBﬁcial style because of her imitaBon of the puritan doctrine to more mature works full of personal self of the writer. Her poems are plenty autobiographical, intense, passionate though she uses self-deprecaBon as the main quality of her work. Self-deprecaBon means worthiness of our acBons through irony and female prejudices. This is clearly appreciated in her poem The Author to her Book. Bradstreet uses a reproducBve metaphor since she sees her book as her chid. However, she rejects her work as ill-formed, so her poems are not good enough according to herself. She perceives herself as a powerless mother just because she is a woman. It is really shocking that the author apologises for her publicaBon. Her poetry is about female experiences and obviously God. This metaphor of an ill-formed child can only be used by a woman who has experienced such thing. In To my Dear Husband readers ﬁnd a happy marriage beyond death with mutual love. Love is beRer when it is reciprocal and this earthly love can only be surpassed by love in Heaven. She is preparing the path in case she dies and her husband has to get marriage to a diﬀerent woman. In fact, Bradstreet wants her children to love her step-mother in case she dies. Although love is beauBfully expressed in these poems, excessive love between a woman and a man is dangerous according to puritan dogmas because God’s love is decreased. It is seen in a quote in her poems: “my love is such that rivers cannot quench,” clearly, something unacceptable in a puritan community. However, she does not care at all because it is what she feels. The Burning of our House is a poem about devastaBon of oneself. The framework runs during the burning of Anne Bradstreet’s house in the colonies which destroyed everything over there. It is really impressive because, as a puritan woman, she was not supposed to be aRached to material stuﬀ. However, Bradstreet actually missed the memories of her life there. Right in the middle of the poem, there is a change in direcBon when she turns to the Bible and ﬁnds consolaBon in a house in Heaven. The sorrow of the poet is construcBve because the poet thinks that if she does not stop lamenBng, she will not be worthy for God. On my Dear Grandchild is an elegy to her grandson. In this very poem, Anne Bradstreet shows herself once again as a diﬀerent puritan woman since she does not think at all that God has a good plan for everyone. She cannot ﬁnd consolaBon in God’s will nor can accept that death is his duty. There is no place for resignaBon despite the puritan dogmas. For the very ﬁrst Bme, God is not 22 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 necessarily seen as a good being. The poem "Before the birth of one of her children" is the poem where Bradstreet refers to the possibility of her husband's second marriage (from verse 14 unBl the end: "What nature would, God grant to yours and you...") where there would be another "Dame" = the step-mother of her own children. She does not only feel anxious about her pregnancy and childbirth, but she also understands that if she eventually dies, her husband will have to remarry (as a good Puritan man). Nevertheless, she is worried about the fate of her children living with this second wife… Before the Birth of One of Her Children BY ANNE BRADSTREET All things within this fading world hath end, Adversity doth still our joyes attend; No ties so strong, no friends so dear and sweet, But with death’s parting blow is sure to meet.
The sentence past is most irrevocable, A common thing, yet oh inevitable.
How soon, my Dear, death may my steps attend, How soon’t may be thy Lot to lose thy friend, We are both ignorant, yet love bids me These farewell lines to recommend to thee, That when that knot’s untied that made us one, I may seem thine, who in effect am none.
And if I see not half my dayes that’s due, What nature would, God grant to yours and you; The many faults that well you know I have Let be interr’d in my oblivious grave; If any worth or virtue were in me, Let that live freshly in thy memory And when thou feel’st no grief, as I no harms, Yet love thy dead, who long lay in thine arms. And when thy loss shall be repaid with gains Look to my little babes, my dear remains.
And if thou love thyself, or loved’st me, These o protect from step Dames injury.
And if chance to thine eyes shall bring this verse, With some sad sighs honour my absent Herse; And kiss this paper for thy loves dear sake, Who with salt tears this last Farewel did take. 23 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 PART 3 THE REVOLUTIONARY PERIOD AND THE NEW REPUBLIC (1743-1820) 24 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 8: The Enlightenment in North-America 8.1. The 18th Century. Colonial America, Revolu=on and New Republic During the 18th Century, the power of Puritan and other religious communiBes was decreasing with the arrival of the Enlightenment in the colonies. This movement brought out from Europe supposed a new way of understanding the world through reason, science and empiricism instead of through the Bible and God. The new aim of the 18th Century mankind was to expand the world and the universe which has been a constant quesBon throughout history. ScienBsts like Isaac Newton or John Locke were creaBng and running some theories in Europe which were lately moved to the colonies. According to Locke, God is not the only one who decides on our fate, but human beings themselves since it is a moral and personal choice. These brilliant European ideas will strongly inﬂuence the minds of puritan Americans unBl changing their mentality. Religion was any more the only argument puritans had, but just a secondary source. It is also an individual right to have beRer opportuniBes in the colonies such as the right of conquering and exterminaBng anyone or anything which hampers the American expansion: the Manifest Des=ny. PopulaBon growth was becoming massive in the colonies, where a great quanBty of origins, religions and races had been meeBng during two centuries. Colonists will enjoy raw materials from the same colonies instead of those which arrived from Europe. Right in the colonies, inhabitants were living economic prosperity whereas, in Europe, ciBes were crowded and full of misery. Thanks to these circumstances, there is a beRer promoBon of North-American colonies as the dream land at the 18th Century. Yet, Europe was not the only conBnent which traded with North-American colonies, but also Africa with the slavery trade. Black slaves had been traded and exploited since the ﬁrst colonies arrived to Virginia. In the case of NaBve American tribes, they were exterminated and moved oﬀ especially in the North, in MassachuseRs (New England). Besides, there were certain conﬂicts between the old and new colonists. These new seRlers were not welcomed by the “old” ones. These conﬂicts made religious communiBes think about the reality of the North-American life. Finally, it will be in this 18th Century when the proper American culture begins thanks to the Independence idea and revoluBon. Every colonist shared the same struggles when crossed the AtlanBc Ocean and lived previously in an oppressing kingdom. The Enlightenment deﬁnitely tried to understand religion according to scienBﬁc and logical statements. The universe has been a diﬃcult and uncertain topic in the history of mankind. This is 25 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 the reason why the enlightened men tried to provide arguments and studies with philosophical and scienBﬁc bases. In addiBon, the real and true obligaBon of mankind was taking care for others. Therefore, social duBes surpassed spiritual duBes. Deism was probably the most relevant movement of the Enlightenment since it claimed the raBonal thinking with a religious background. It means, that God is the responsible being of the creaBon of the world and that it can be proved raBonally. Deism was highly useful for puritan minds because it changed their thinking about the constant punishment of God to the unreasonable causes of events. Thanks to this movement, people ﬁnally had expectaBons and hopes. Success is what really maRers in earthly life, not in life in heaven. Whilst puritans believed in innate badness, Eighteen century thinkers will developed the idea of tabula rasa by Renoir Descartes. According to this, mankind is not predesBnated and fate is something which we create by ourselves. Development of own knowledge, curiosity for caring for others. During the 1730s and 1740s, the Great American Awakening will take place with ideas about independence of Great Britain and the creaBon of the United States of America. It will be due to the imperial poliBcs by the BriBsh Empire which dominated great part of the world. There will be several conﬂicts between the UK and France when deciding to who really belonged Quebec. The Declara=on of Independence is a protest and a reacBon due to the usurpaBon of American’s rights by the King and the Parliament (there was no American representaBon therein). Taxes were a great problem in the colonies approved by the BriBsh Parliament which will be lately responded with a successful boycoR to the BriBsh products. American seRlers felt the necessity of creaBng a naBonal idenBty since they truly felt diﬀerent from the rest of Europeans. Literature will be key to persuading seRlers on their religious thinkings. Although it is not sBll the Bme of the great literary American producBon, there were plenty documents distributed throughout the Thirteen Colonies: it is God’s plan to get the independence from the BriBsh Empire. American colonists did think that they could get rid of BriBsh products and rules, so they could achieve the true independence thanks to their own products, too. This ideas were complemented and helped to be raised with Thomas Paine, a BriBsh poliBcian who landed on America in 1774 and who provided whigs’ strategies to convince American colonists to ﬁght against the BriBsh government. Another important essayist and biographer was, for instance, Benjamin Franklin, who used journalism as a weapon to convincing seRlers of this ﬁght. Franklin tried to be persuasive through his wriBngs and arBcles. Therefore, during this 18th Century there were found lots of pamphlets, newspapers and essays spread throughout the colonies. Besides, it is in this very century when the ﬁrst women started to use pen-names in order to publish their works. 26 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Some North-American writers of the 18th Century: • William Hill Brown: The Power of Sympathy • Susanna Rowson: Charlotte Temple • Hannah Foster: The Coquette • Charles Brockden Brown: Edgar Huntly Joy and happiness are deﬁnitely found in this late 18th Century alike the punishment and seek for salvaBon of the 17th Century wriBngs. OpBmisBc Americans thought that Europe was sBll living in the Middle Ages due to the social classiﬁcaBon and classes. Nevertheless, there was also medieval or ancient customs running in North-America such as the slavery issue and the discriminaBon of women. Women sBll lacked of rights in educaBon and property so did the European women. Indeed, it is right in the 18th Century with the Enlightenment when women started to think about the rights and slightly claim them. When the Thirteen Colonies ﬁnally achieved the independence in 1776, NaBve Americans supported US’ enemies like France or Great Britain as a revenge. According to the Northwest Ordinance4 of 1787, NaBve American communiBes were force to moving to the leO side of the River Ohio. Surprisingly, the American naBon was founded under the principles of freedom and human rights. Therefore, jusBce by law so that everyone is equal. Some social sectors started to include women as a part of the common life. To conclude, it is relevant to know that one of the many purposes the Enlightenment had in America was the improvement of society. The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, and also known as the The Ordinance of 1787) was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States (the Confederation Congress), passed July 13, 1787. The ordinance created the Northwest Territory, the first organized territory of the United States, from lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains, between British North America and the Great Lakes to the north and the Ohio River to the south. The upper Mississippi River formed the Territory's western boundary. It was the response to multiple pressures: the westward expansion of American settlers, tense diplomatic relations with Great Britain and Spain, violent confrontations with Indians, the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, and the empty treasury of the American government. It was based upon but more conservative than Thomas Jefferson's proposed ordinance of 1784. The 1787 law relied on a strong central government, which was assured under the new Constitution that took effect in 1789. In August, 1789, it was replaced by the Northwest Ordinance of 1789, in which the new Congress reaffirmed the Ordinance with slight modifications. 4 27 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 9: Poli=cal Wri=ng and Autobiography: Benjamin Franklin (1706-90), J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur (1735-1813), Thomas Jeﬀerson (1743-1826) and Thomas Paine (1737-1809) 9.1. J. Hector St. John de Crevècoeur (1735-1813) 9.1.1. Biography In 1755, he immigrated to New France in North America. There, he served in the French and Indian War as a surveyor in the French Colonial MiliBa, rising to the rank of lieutenant. Following the BriBsh defeat of the French Army in 1759, he moved into the Province of New York, where he took out ciBzenship, adopted the English-American name of John Hector St. John, and in 1770 married an American woman, Mehitable Tippet. He bought a sizeable farm in Orange County, New York, where he prospered as a farmer. He started wriBng about life in the American colonies and the emergence of an American society. In 1779, during the American RevoluBon, St. John tried to leave the country to return to France because of the faltering health of his father. Accompanied by his son, he crossed BriBsh-American lines to enter BriBsh-occupied New York City, where he was imprisoned as an American spy for three months without a hearing. Eventually, he was able to leave for Britain. In 1782, in London, he published a volume of narraBve essays enBtled the Le<ers from an American Farmer. The book quickly became the ﬁrst literary success by an American author in Europe and turned Crèvecœur into a celebrated ﬁgure. He was the ﬁrst writer to describe to Europeans – employing many American English terms – the life on the American fronBer and to explore the concept of the American Dream, portraying American society as characterised by the principles of equal opportunity and self-determinaBon. His work provided useful informaBon and understanding of the "New World" that helped to create an American idenBty in the minds of Europeans by describing an enBre country rather than another regional colony. The wriBng celebrated American ingenuity and the uncomplicated lifestyle. It described the acceptance of religious diversity in a society being created from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. His applicaBon of the LaBn maxim "Ubi panis ibi patria" (Where there is bread, there is my country) to early American seRlers also shows an interesBng insight. He once praised the middle colonies for "fair ciBes, substanBal villages, extensive ﬁelds...decent houses, good roads, orchards, meadows, and bridges, where an hundred years ago all was wild, woody, and unculBvated." From Britain, he sailed to France, where he was brieﬂy reunited with his father. When the United States had been recognised by Britain following the Treaty of Paris in 1783, Crèvecœur returned to New York City. Anxious to be reunited with his family, he learned that his wife had 28 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 died, his farm had been destroyed, and his children had been taken in by neighbours. Eventually, he was able to regain custody of his children. For most of the 1780s, Crèvecœur lived in New York City. The success of his book in France had led to his being taken up by an inﬂuenBal circle, and he was appointed the French consul for New York, New Jersey and ConnecBcut. In 1784, he published a two-volume version of his Le<ers from an American Farmer, enlarged and completely rewriRen in French. A three-volume version followed in 1787. Both his English and his French books were translated into several other European languages and widely disseminated throughout Europe. For many years, Crèvecœur was idenBﬁed by European readers with his ﬁcBonal narrator, James, the 'American farmer', and held in high esteem by readers and fellowwriters across Europe. By the Bme he published another three-volume work in 1801, enBtled Voyage dans la HautePensylvanie et dans l'état de New-York, however, his fame had faded and the damages of the French RevoluBon and its aOermath had made people less interested in the United States. His book was ignored. An abbreviated German translaBon appeared the following year. An English translaBon was not published unBl 1964. Much of de Crevecoeur's best work has been published posthumously, most recently as More Le<ers from the American Farmer: An ediKon of the Essays in English LeM Unpublished by Crèvecœur, edited by Dennis D. Moore (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1995). ParBcularly concerned about the condiBon of slaves, he joined the Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of the Blacks), founded in Paris. In 1789, during a stay in France, he was trapped by the poliBcal upheaval that was quickly turning into the French RevoluBon. At risk as an aristocrat, he went into hiding, while secretly trying to gain passage to the United States. The necessary papers were ﬁnally delivered to him by the new American ambassador to France, James Monroe. At the end of his life Crèvecœur returned to France and seRled permanently on land he inherited from his father. On November 12, 1813, he died in Sarcelles, Val d'Oise, France. 9.1.2. LeNers from an American Farmer (1782) Crevècoeur wrote these leRers during his seven years as a farmer in New York. These leRers are wriBngs about his experiences in North-America by using a ﬁcBonal character called James who will be the protagonist of his autobiography. The receiver is also a ﬁcBonal character who receives the amount of twelve leRers from this farmer. The author places his selng in a Quackier farm in Pensilvania. 29 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Crevècoeur tries to be brief, clear and eﬀecBve when wriBng these leRers since he does not need to use a ﬂourishing or elevated language to show his skills in describing. His themes are several such as agricultural, religious, sociological or poliBcal in order to show Europeans that there is an naBonal idenBty in this colonies. The author also expresses his admiraBon to the original seRlers who leO their ciBes, families and customs and transformed the land by working hard unBl reaching the dreamed land of America. Apparently, America is an ideal in these leRers, wherein culBvaBon of the land and prosperity of community suppose a break with the past (Europe). In this land, there are neither social classes, nor kings but religious freedom. There is no diﬀerence between poor people or riches, something constantly found in Europe. The author of these leRers usually menBons several naBonaliBes and origins from Europe now living in the colonies, though he makes clear that there is only one race of men despite their colour or origin: Americans. When talking about Europe, Crevècoeur also criBcises the constant conﬂicts in Europe against the few or almost inexistent baRles in North-America. This is a fact which seems to shock the author since he ﬁnds this abundance of land and social-classless society wherein everyone is equal and free. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM UKESSAYS.CO.UK In the leRers from an American Farmer, wriRen by Michael Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur in 1782 we learn that Crevecoeur was an extraordinary lover of nature. He gives the reader tremendous insight into nature and the life of animals in LeRers from an American Farmer. He shows a great respect for animals and reveals his deep compassion for them throughout the selecBon. He writes from a farmer's perspecBve, uses powerful anecdotes, and elaborated observaBons to inform the reader about the beauty of animals and the role they play in nature and in our lives. Crevecoeur uBlises this work as a medium to express his idea that man should respect and help nature the way that nature helps and respects man. It is obvious aOer reading this material that Crevecoeur understands how animals help man greatly. Crevecoeur informs his readers of how animals "Abundantly repay" him and "Are doing [his] work". He even goes as far as to assert that if it were not "For [the owls] kind assistance, the mice would drive us out of our farms". He believes that although certain parts of nature may impede human progress, there will always be parts that we depend on for growth and development and without them farm life would suﬀer. It's very hard for John de Crevecoeur to understand why humans take advantage of animals and disrespect nature the way they do. As far as he was concerned, it was barbaric the way humans catch and kill quails during the winter when they are just harmless and hungry. Crevecoeur asks, "Are they not the children of the great Creator as well 30 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 as us?” He then proceeds to assert that animals are enBtled to live and get their food wherever they can get it. Crevecoeur truly seems to feel that man and animals are very similar and have some of the same primal needs and desires. His words communicate to the reader that nature gives them so much and that they should be thankful instead of killing its animals and prevenBng them from eaBng and living a producBve life as nature allows them to do. David M. Robinson from Oregon State University believes that Crevecoeur's depicBon of American's is in aRempts to thrust an idea of a utopian community upon society. He explains that Crevecoeur was trying to "Present a powerful image of what America might have become before it veered into the Industrial Age" (Robinson). He also describes Crevecoeur's values of "Familial rootedness, reverence for nature, diligent work, economic egalitarianism, and openness to those in need" (Robinson). However, it does not seem to me as though Crevecoeur was pushing towards a Utopian society. It seems that he is just urging American's to live a posiBve lifestyle that is helpful towards nature. Although all of the values named by Robinson are in line with Utopian values, it is ridiculous to say that everyone who believes in these values is pushing towards a Utopian society. St. John de Crevecoeur tells the reader accounts from his own life that shows his great compassion for animals in order to set an example for Americans. He wants the reader to take into consideraBon the choices he makes regarding nature and for the reader, in turn, to make similar choices in his or her life. A highly reoccurring theme of nature in LeRers from an American Farmer was the example of the bees, or as he at one point calls them, "Heaven's daughters" (60). It is clear that these insects were one of Crevecoeur's most respected beings in the natural world. He tells a story about how he killed a bird in order to save the bees that it had just eaten. This story in used to set a standard for the reader. It helps to show what kind of person Crevecoeur is and the way he feels about nature. Crevecoeur has immense compassion for nature and its creatures and he goes to great lengths to preserve it. He feels that just as we need to be helped by nature, nature needs to be helped by us. The topic of bees is highly reﬂecBve of these feelings. He is thankful for the bees because they "Preserve our ﬁelds from the depredaBon of crows" (53).Therefore, he feels he must repay them with care and respect. He shows compassion in similar anecdotes such as how he feels that it is shameful to let gluRony interfere with the beauBful change of the egg to a chicken (52). Crevecoeur is a very compassionate man and although it is odd because he is a farmer, he feels that man should help nature the way nature helps man. While giving the reader these stories and showing them how he lives his life and how he feels about nature, he also explains how he feels about Americans and how they treat nature, he also explains how he feels about Americans and how they treat nature and what exactly they need to change. He says that just as we need someone or something to feed us, so do animals. He explains that it is up to man or nature to provide this food. He argues that "As we pay no Bthes in this country, I think we should be a liRle 31 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 more generous than we are to the brute creaBon" (61). He also describes the balance that is necessary between nature and man and says beauBfully that "In the midst of this great, this astonishing equipoise, Man struggles and lives." (63). Nature is a powerful force that works both with and against man. It is the cause of both man's heartbreak and heartbeat and without it man could not exist. Although he had great compassion and respect for nature, Crevecoeur also felt that occasional interference was necessary. This is because he is a farmer and knows that in order to be successful, it is oOen necessary to keep animals away from the crops. He talks about how he was "OOen obliged to shoot these liRle kings of the air" (60). He also occasionally poisoned his corn to keep the blackbirds away. These are examples of man's struggle with nature. Although nature brings man great things, it is also the cause of much stress. Although Crevevcoeur had deep compassion for nature he is also a farmer. So when push comes to shove, he had to do what was best for his livelihood. Ralph Waldo Emerson, like Crevecoeur, has immense respect and compassion for nature. However, he writes from a poet's point of view rather than a farmer's. His wriBng is much more abstract and ﬂowery than Crevecoeur's and he uses metaphors, personiﬁcaBon, and detailed imagery to describe his thoughts on the relaBonship between humans and nature. He explains that an "Abstract truth is the most pracBcal" (Emerson 142). It is best to describe nature in an abstract form because since much of nature is abstract and beauBful, the best way to describe nature, is through ﬂowery, abstract language. A good way to describe the diﬀerence between the wriBng of Crevecoeur and that of Emerson comes from Nature he says that his wriBng "DisBnguished the sBck of Bmber of the wood-cuRer from the tree of the poet" (143). This shows how two people can look at the same object and see two very diﬀerent things. The farmer sees the sBck of Bmber because that is what is important and relevant to his life while the poet sees the enBre tree for its beauty. Crevecoeur writes about nature from a farmer's perspecBve while Emerson discusses it from a poet's perspecBve. This gives the reader a greater insight into nature being man's heartache and heartbeat. The farmer is in a constant struggle with nature while the poet sits back and observes its beauty. While both Crevecoeur and Emerson both note a direct relaBonship between humans and animals, their ideas on the subject vary. Emerson believed not that humans and nature were equal, but that man is actually a part of nature. He says that nature's "Floods of life stream around and through us" (141). He also explains that the only part of a human that is not nature is the soul. Everything else belongs to nature. He describes that when he is in nature, he can "Feel the cenBpede in [him]" (145).When observing nature, he lets himself evaporate so that he can be as close with nature as possible. He describes that he becomes "A transparent eyeball; [he is] 32 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 nothing; [he sees] all" (144). He explains that he lets himself become one with nature. He just opens his eyes and lets all of nature go into his soul. This is how he believes he can get the most out of nature and understand its beauty. Emerson was a true transcendentalist who believed that the spiritual exceeds the physical. By making himself one with nature, and seeing it from a spiritual standpoint, Emerson was able to observe nature without interfering. In fact, Joe Webb argues that "anyone aware of the most rudimentary basics of transcendental thought can recognise the harmony the philosophy seeks to achieve between man and nature. This union is important, because Emerson argues that Nature is God's miracle, and the constant magniﬁcence of its everpresent imprint upon our eyes renders all other smaller miracles unnecessary" (Webb). By feeling as if he is a part of nature, and lelng his body disappear when he is observing the natural world, he is lelng nature take its course undisturbed. While Crevecoeur felt that occasional interference was necessary, Emerson believed that "Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit" (143). He did not believe that people should tamper with nature in any way. Instead, he thought that it was more important to watch it, absorb it, and be it. While Crevecoeur oOen related nature and man, he rarely gave nature human qualiBes the way that Emerson did. Emerson described how the vegetables would nod to him and pine needles would "Challenge him to read their riddle" (146). He said that the "Great mountain amphitheatre seemed to drink in with gladness" (147). These personiﬁcaBons contributed to the ﬂowery and poeBc wriBng of Emerson's work. Just as Crevecoeur discussed man oOen being against nature and not respecBng it, Emerson agrees with this idea: Nature always wears the colours of the spirit. To a man labouring under calamity, the heat of his own ﬁre hath sadness in it. Then there is a kind of contempt of the landscape felt by him who has just lost by death a dear friend. The sky is less grand as it shuts down over less worth in the populaBon" (144.) This idea has a very RomanBc undertone. It speaks of emoBons and pain which is a very strong characterisBc of RomanBcism. Both Crevecoeur and Emerson felt that nature will be good to you if you are good to it. Emerson also believed that you should learn from nature and from experiences. He felt that we should not learn by reading or going to college, but by living and learning from what is around you and from what you do. Like Crevecoeur, Emerson had deep love and compassion for nature. He felt that it was important to "Enjoy an original relaBon to the universe" (141). He discussed how "Intercourse with heaven and earth becomes part of his daily food" (143). Just as Crevecoeur stated that nature is constantly helping humans, Emerson explained that "Nature says, - he is my creature, and maugre all his imperBnent griefs, he shall be glad with me" (143). He absolutely loved nature and realised that cooperaBon between man and nature is imperaBve. He said that "The power to produce this 33 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 delight does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both" (144). He and Crevecoeur both agreed that just as nature helps man, man must help nature to create a healthy, stable world. Emerson asserts in Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson that the world is "So beauBful that I can hardly believe it exists" (148). This is a statement that Crevecoeur would certainly have agreed with. Both men had very strong feelings for nature and for its preservaBon. They both also believed that a balance between man and nature is crucial. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur was truly concerned with the well being of nature and its creatures and truly tried to point out American's ignorance towards it. He believes that man has no respect for nature. This is unfair because nature helps in many ways that humans take for granted every day. A quotaBon that basically sums up Crevecoeur's posiBon towards Americans and nature comes from Sketches of Eighteenth century America. He felt that "If bounBful Nature is kind to us on the one hand, on the other she wills that we shall purchase her kindness not only with sweats and labour but with vigilance and care" (Crevecoeur 63). Although Emerson was equally concerned about the well being of nature and its creatures, he was more at one with nature than Crevecoeur. Crevecoeur saw nature from a pracBcal farmer's perspecBve while Emerson saw it from a spiritual personal perspecBve. Instead of urging Americans to respect nature, he was explaining how we are nature. It was very important to him that nature be leO as is and to be watched and observed. He, like Crevecoeur, believed that nature is taken advantage of. However, in Emerson's point of view, it is taken advantage of in the sense that we do not noBce its beauty. Emerson feels that only children can truly appreciate nature because of their innocence. These two men, truly urge the reader to stop for a moment and look at the world around them. It is amazing how many beauBful creatures and landscapes are all around us every day that we never take the Bme to appreciate. According to Crevecoeur and Emerson every man is a part of nature and just as nature gives us everything we need, we must give back to nature. Both Crevecoeur and Emerson believe that man and nature have a very inBmate relaBonship. They understand that in order to have nature on your side, you must give back to, and not tamper with nature. They also believe that nature is both the heartache and heartbeat of every man. 9.2. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) 9.2.1. Biography England-born poliBcal philosopher and writer Thomas Paine (1737-1809) helped shape many of the ideas that marked the Age of RevoluBon. Published in 1776, his highly popular “Common Sense” was the ﬁrst pamphlet to advocate American independence. AOer wriBng the “Crisis” 34 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 papers during the American RevoluBon, Paine returned to Europe and oﬀered his defence of the French RevoluBon with “The Rights of Man.” His poliBcal views led to a sBnt in prison; aOer his release, he produced his last great pamphlets, “The Age of Reason,” an exposiBon of insBtuBonalised religion, and “Agrarian JusBce,” a call for land reform. ‘I know not whether any man in the world has had more inﬂuence on its inhabitants or aﬀairs for the last thirty years than Tom Paine.’ So wrote John Adams in 1805. In an age of poliBcal pamphleteering, Paine had become the most inﬂuenBal pamphleteer of all. His wriBngs remain classic statements of the egalitarian, democraBc faith of the Age of RevoluBon. Paine’s origins lay among the lower orders of eighteenth-century England. The son of a Quaker corset maker, he pracBced his father’s trade and then worked as an excise tax collector. His father’s religion undoubtedly inﬂuenced Paine’s humanitarianism, and a strong interest in Newtonian science helped him develop a hatred for governments that rested on hereditary privilege. Paine immigrated to Philadelphia in 1774 and soon became acquainted with advocates of poliBcal change. In January 1776, he published Common Sense, the ﬁrst pamphlet to advocate American independence. It outlined ideas that would remain central to Paine’s thought: the superiority of republican government over a monarchical system, equality of rights among all ciBzens, and the world signiﬁcance of the American RevoluBon. Paine transformed the struggle over the rights of English people into a contest with meaning for people everywhere. In a world ‘overrun with oppression,’ America would be ‘an asylum for mankind.’ Common Sense sold perhaps 150,000 copies in 1776, a tribute to both the persuasiveness of Paine’s argument and the clarity and power of his literary style. Addressing a mass audience unfamiliar with legal precedents, classical learning, and complex rhetoric, Paine strove for simplicity. The message conveyed by his style was of a piece with his democraBc poliBcs: to understand the nature of poliBcs, all it takes is common sense. For the next several years, Paine threw himself into the struggle for independence, wriBng the Crisis papers (which begin with the famous phrase, ‘These are the Bmes that try men’s souls’) to bolster the morale of Washington’s army. He also took part in the movement that produced in Pennsylvania the era’s most democraBc state consBtuBon. Returning to Europe in 1787, Paine soon entered the poliBcal debate launched by the French RevoluBon. His Rights of Man defended the revoluBon against the aRacks of Edmund Burke and proﬀered a new vision of the republican state as a promoter of the social welfare, advocaBng such policies as progressive taxaBon, reBrement beneﬁts, and public employment. An even greater 35 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 success than Common Sense, Rights of Man transformed English radicalism, linking demands for poliBcal reform with a social program for the lower classes. Charged with sediBous libel for advocaBng an end to monarchy in Britain, Paine ﬂed to France, where he became one of a handful of foreigners elected to the NaBonal ConvenBon. His opposiBon to the execuBon of the king alienated the Jacobins, and when they came to power, Paine found himself in prison. AOer his release in 1794, he produced his last great pamphlets: The Age of Reason, an exposiBon of deism and an aRack on the basic principles of ChrisBanity, and Agrarian JusBce, a call for land reform. AOer his return to America in 1802, Paine came under constant assault by evangelical ChrisBans for his deist wriBngs. Only six mourners aRended the funeral of the man who had once inspired millions to think in new ways about the world. But Paine’s wriBngs became part of the intellectual foundaBon for nineteenth-century radicalism. 9.2.2 Common Sense Common Sense, by Thomas Paine, is known as one of the most famous revoluBonary essays of the history. AOer being considered a traitor, Paine fought strongly against the revoluBon in the colonies not only through wriBngs but also in wars, wherein he composed Crisis (a set of numerous essays) whose aim was to encourage soldiers to ﬁght against Great Britain. According to Paine, the main problem of the colonies and Britain is the king, who is absolutely criBcised in Paine’s essay as a “traitor.” Not only the king is punished in Common Sense, but primarily the hereditary monarchy and the poli=cal system. This statements were also strongly inﬂuenBal in the French RevoluBon of 1789. The king is deﬁnitely an enemy, a “monster,” a “parasite” who must be aRacked so must the hereditary succession. In addiBon, the author claims for true equality: “men are born equal.” There is even a parallelism with the kings of Israel since both kings were corrupt and caused many wars. Therefore, what Thomas Paine claims is the kingless representaBon. It is also the system of the king which is aRacked since it is a system based in an excess of power and ineﬃciency in poliBcs. Thomas Paine agrees that Great Britain was once necessary since America needed someone who helped it to raise up, though now America does not need anything or anyone else to go on with its development. Great Britain is not only there disturbing colonists, but protecBng its own interests. This is the reason why Paine promotes internaBonal trade with other naBons such as Spain, Italy and other American colonies. The government must be chosen by the Americans in order to create a representaBve government wherein each colony has the same power. The future United States of America is a 36 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 naBon with great potenBal which can be expanded to the West. Along with this expansion, he proposes the creaBon of a powerful army to ﬁght against its enemies and protect the country. Deﬁnitely, America is any more a colony, but a true na=on. Society and government are also contrasted in these essays. Society is seen as something posiBve and necessary whereas the government is a “necessary and intolerable evil.” Government is literary something necessary but corrupt and awful. To a certain extent, it could be said that government is born because of our innate badness as human beings. The right to life, property, etc. are some aspects society is supposed to change and organise in order to beneﬁt the community. According to Paine, if the government fails, it must be changed and ciBzens have plenty rights to denounce its problems and choose another one whenever they feel necessary. Equality and freedom of men are points defended by their natural rights. Nevertheless, the main obstacle for equality is the king and social classes. American revoluBon cannot be stopped and it is absolutely inevitable. That is a simple fact which must be admired since Americans should separate themselves from Great Britain. Americans must think about their rights: right to life, right to representaBon, right to property, etc. Therefore, Common Sense is a kind of great awakening in poliBcal terms and a declaraBon of war where Americans must ﬁght for their rights. Clarity, simplicity and direct speech are some adjecBves which do describe Thomas Paine’s wriBng. Through this principles, the essayist becomes highly inﬂuenBal and persuasive creaBng reacBon and convicBon. Besides, it is his provocaBve and violent altude what shocks readers. This essay was created in a Bme of conﬂict between Great Britain and France, whom NaBve-American tribes were allied to. These tribes fought against the metropolis which expelled them out their lands and exterminated a vast quanBty of their peoples. Just a year aOer Common Sense was wriRen, the alike representaBves of the Thirteen Colonists gathered together in Philadelphia celebraBng in 1774 the First Con=nental Congress. 9.3. Thomas Jeﬀerson (1743-1826) 9.3.1. Biography Thomas Jeﬀerson was born on April 13, 1743, at Shadwell, a plantaBon on a large tract of land near present-day CharloResville, Virginia. His father, Peter Jeﬀerson (1707/08-57), was a successful planter and surveyor and his mother, Jane Randolph Jeﬀerson (1720-76), came from a prominent Virginia family. Thomas was their third child and eldest son; he had six sisters and one surviving brother. 37 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 In 1762, Jeﬀerson graduated from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he reportedly enjoyed studying for 15 hours then pracBcing violin for several more hours on a daily basis. He went on to study law under the tutelage of a respected Virginia aRorney (there were no oﬃcial law schools in America at the Bme), and began working as a lawyer in 1767. As a member of colonial Virginia’s House of Burgesses from 1769 to 1775, Jeﬀerson, who was known for his reserved manner, gained recogniBon for penning a pamphlet, “A Summary View of the Rights of BriBsh America” (1774), which declared that the BriBsh Parliament had no right to exercise authority over the American colonies. AOer his father died when Jeﬀerson was a teen, the future president inherited the Shadwell property. In 1768, Jeﬀerson began clearing a mountaintop on the land, in preparaBon for the elegant brick mansion he would construct there called MonBcello (“liRle mountain” in Italian). Jeﬀerson, who had a keen interest in architecture and gardening, designed the home and its elaborate gardens himself. Over the course of his life, he remodelled and expanded MonBcello and ﬁlled it with art, ﬁne furnishings and interesBng gadgets and architectural details. He kept records of everything that happened at the 5,000-acre plantaBon, including daily weather reports, a gardening journal and notes about his slaves and animals. On January 1, 1772, Jeﬀerson married Martha Wayles Skelton (1748-82), a young widow. The couple moved to MonBcello and eventually had six children; only two daughters–Martha (1772-1836) and Mary (1778-1804)–survived into adulthood. In 1782, Jeﬀerson’s wife Martha died at age 33 following complicaBons from child-birth. Jeﬀerson was distraught and never remarried. However, it is believed he fathered more children with one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings (1773-1835). Slavery was a contradictory issue in Jeﬀerson’s life. Although he was an advocate for individual liberty and at one point promoted a plan for gradual emancipaBon of slaves in America, he owned slaves throughout his life. AddiBonally, while he wrote in the DeclaraBon of Independence that “all men are created equal,” he believed African Americans were biologically inferior to whites and thought the two races could not co-exist peacefully in freedom. Jeﬀerson inherited some 175 slaves from his father and father-in-law and owned an esBmated 600 slaves over the course of his life. He freed only a small number of them in his will; the majority were sold following his death. 38 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 In 1775, with the American RevoluBonary War recently under way, Jeﬀerson was selected as a delegate to the Second ConBnental Congress. Although not known as a great public speaker, he was a giOed writer and at age 33, was asked to draO the DeclaraBon of Independence (before he began wriBng, Jeﬀerson discussed the document’s contents with a ﬁve-member draOing commiRee that included John Adams and Benjamin Franklin). The DeclaraBon of Independence, which explained why the 13 colonies wanted to be free of BriBsh rule and also detailed the importance of individual rights and freedoms, was adopted on July 4, 1776. In the fall of 1776, Jeﬀerson resigned from the ConBnental Congress and was re-elected to the Virginia House of Delegates (formerly the House of Burgesses). He considered the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, which he authored in the late 1770s and which Virginia lawmakers eventually passed in 1786, to be one of the signiﬁcant achievements of his career. It was a forerunner to the First Amendment to the U.S. ConsBtuBon, which protects people’s right to worship as they choose. From 1779 to 1781, Jeﬀerson served as governor of Virginia, and from 1783 to 1784, did a second sBnt in Congress (then oﬃcially known, since 1781, as the Congress of the ConfederaBon). In 1785, he succeeded Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) as U.S. minister to France. Jeﬀerson’s duBes in Europe meant he could not aRend the ConsBtuBonal ConvenBon in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787; however, he was kept informed of the proceedings to draO a new naBonal consBtuBon and later advocated for including a bill of rights and presidenBal term limits. AOer returning to America in the fall of 1789, Jeﬀerson accepted an appointment from President George Washington (1732-99) to become the new naBon’s ﬁrst secretary of state. In this post, Jeﬀerson clashed with U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton (1755/57-1804) over foreign policy and their diﬀering interpretaBons of the U.S. ConsBtuBon. In the early 1790s, Jeﬀerson, who favoured strong state and local government, co-founded the DemocraBc-Republican Party to oppose Hamilton’s Federalist Party, which advocated for a strong naBonal government with broad powers over the economy. In the presidenBal elecBon of 1796, Jeﬀerson ran against John Adams and received the second highest amount of votes, which according to the law at the Bme, made him vice president. Jeﬀerson ran against Adams again in the presidenBal elecBon of 1800, which turned into a biRer baRle between the Federalists and DemocraBc-Republicans. Jeﬀerson defeated Adams; however, due to a ﬂaw in the electoral system, Jeﬀerson Bed with fellow DemocraBc-Republican Aaron Burr (1756-1836). The House of RepresentaBves broke the Be and voted Jeﬀerson into oﬃce. In order to avoid a repeat of this situaBon, Congress proposed the TwelOh Amendment to the U.S. ConsBtuBon, which required separate voBng for president and vice president. The amendment was raBﬁed in 1804. 39 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Jeﬀerson was sworn into oﬃce on March 4, 1801; his was the ﬁrst presidenBal inauguraBon held in Washington, D.C. (George Washington was inaugurated in New York in 1789; in 1793, he was sworn into oﬃce in Philadelphia, as was his successor, John Adams, in 1797.) Instead of riding in a horse-drawn carriage, Jeﬀerson broke with tradiBon and walked to and from the ceremony. One of the most signiﬁcant achievements of Jeﬀerson’s ﬁrst administraBon was the purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million in 1803. At more than 820,000 square miles, the acquisiBon (which included lands extending between the Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico to present-day Canada) eﬀecBvely doubled the size of the United States. Jeﬀerson then commissioned Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) to explore the uncharted land, plus the area beyond, out to the Paciﬁc Ocean. (At the Bme, most Americans lived within 50 miles of the AtlanBc Ocean). The expediBon, known today as the Corps of Discovery, lasted from 1804 to 1806 and provided valuable informaBon about the geography, American Indian tribes and animal and plant life of the western part of the conBnent. In 1804, Jeﬀerson ran for re-elecBon and defeated Federalist candidate Charles Pinckney (1746-1825) of South Carolina with more than 70 percent of the popular vote and an electoral count of 162-14. During his second term, Jeﬀerson focused on trying to keep America out of Europe’s Napoleonic Wars (1803-15). However, aOer Great Britain and France, who were at war, both began harassing American merchant ships, Jeﬀerson implemented the Embargo of 1807. The act, which closed U.S. ports to foreign trade, proved unpopular with Americans and hurt the U.S. economy. It was repealed in 1809 and, despite the president’s aRempts to maintain neutrality, the U.S. ended up going to war against Britain in 1812. Jeﬀerson chose not to run for a third term in 1808 and was succeeded in oﬃce by James Madison (1751-1836), a fellow Virginian and former U.S. secretary of state. Jeﬀerson spent his post-presidenBal years at MonBcello, where he conBnued to pursue his many interests, including architecture, music, reading and gardening. He also helped found the University of Virginia, which held its ﬁrst classes in 1825. Jeﬀerson was involved with designing the school’s buildings and curriculum, and ensured that unlike other American colleges at the Bme, the school had no religious aﬃliaBon or religious requirements for its students. Jeﬀerson died at age 83 at MonBcello on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the DeclaraBon of Independence. Coincidentally, John Adams, Jeﬀerson’s friend, former rival and fellow signer of the DeclaraBon of Independence, died the same day. Jeﬀerson was buried at MonBcello. However, due to the signiﬁcant debt the former president had accumulated during his life, his mansion, furnishing and slaves were sold at aucBon following his death. MonBcello was eventually acquired by a non-proﬁt organisaBon, which opened it to the public in 1954. 40 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Jeﬀerson remains an American icon. His face appears on the U.S. nickel and is carved into stone at Mount Rushmore. The Jeﬀerson Memorial, near the NaBonal Mall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on April 13, 1943, the 200th anniversary of Jeﬀerson’s birth. 9.3.2. The Declara=on of Independence of the United States of America (1776)5 Thomas Jeﬀerson denies that Great Britain has any authority in North America. This made him get a reputaBon in the colonies as someone who fought against the BriBsh seRlers and claimed independence for the Thirteen Colonies. Jeﬀerson was called for the Second Con=nental Congress in 1776 in Philadelphia. During this congress, Jeﬀerson along with other important icons like Benjamin Franklin redacted one of the most important documents of the United States of America: the Declara=on of Independence. Ideologically speaking, Thomas Jeﬀerson ﬁnds BriBsh ciBzens as the main cause of their independence since they are the only ones who permit the king to be a tyrant. Although Thomas Jeﬀerson was against slavery, he could not include the aboliBon in this document because southern colonies such as Virginia or South Carolina would not agree. Another denied proposal was the allusion to a corrupt Parliament or king since it may cause a stronger rivalry. Although it is pracBcally the unique essay wriRen by this president, it is true that he was not a man of documents but a man of acBons and pracBcal maRers. However, Thomas Jeﬀerson constantly defended his ideas of freedom of land and separaBon of the Church and State. This DeclaraBon of Independence is basically a summary of the several abuses commiRed by the BriBsh ruler against North-American colonies which are suﬀering many injusBces because of him. American ciBzens must remove and change this government in Britain and create a new one in the territory of the United States. He even claims for help from other naBons so did Thomas Paine in his famous essay Common Sense. Enlightened ideas such as equality of men by natural rights which are completely unalienable: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There are certain reasons which have been gathered or amounted throughout the history of the colonies, mostly abuses which have reached such a peak that the colonies are revolved. For instance, the king George III Hannover did not allow the colonies to have parBcipaBon in the legislaBon of the Parliament. Among this abuses is the massive rise of taxes on products such as tea or wood as well as the conﬁscaBon of American ships. 5 Further information in the essay The Declaration of Independence and International Law by David Armitage.
41 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 The Thirteen Colonies have tried to ﬁnd reconciliaBon with Great Britain, though Britain rejected all their condiBons. For the very ﬁrst Bme, the colonies would adopt the name of the New Republic of the United States of America. 9.4. Benjamin Franklin (1706-90) 9.4.1. The life of the author Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston in what was then known as the MassachuseRs Bay Colony. His father, English-born soap and candle maker Josiah Franklin, had seven children with ﬁrst wife, Anne Child, and 10 more with second wife, Abiah Folger. Ben was his 15th child and youngest son. Ben learned to read at an early age, and despite his success at the Boston LaBn School, he stopped his formal schooling at 10 to work full-Bme in his cash-strapped father’s candle and soap shop. Dipping wax and culng wicks didn’t ﬁre the young boy’s imaginaBon, however. Perhaps to dissuade him from going to sea as one of his brothers had done, Josiah apprenBced Ben at 12 to his brother James at his print shop. Although James mistreated and frequently beat his younger brother, Ben learned a great deal about newspaper publishing and adopted a similar brand of subversive poliBcs under the printer’s tutelage. When James refused to publish any of his brother’s wriBng, 16-year-old Ben adopted the pseudonym Mrs. Silence Dogood, and “her” 14 imaginaBve and wiRy leRers delighted readers of his brother’s newspaper, The New England Courant. James grew angry, however, when he learned that his apprenBce had penned the leRers. Tired of his brother’s “harsh and tyrannical” behaviour, Ben ﬂed Boston in 1723 although he had three years remaining on a legally binding contract with his master. He escaped to New York before seRling in Philadelphia, which became his home base for the rest of his life. Franklin found work with another printer in Philadelphia and lodged at the home of John Read, where he met and courted his landlord’s daughter Deborah. Encouraged by Pennsylvania Governor William Keith to set up his own print shop, Franklin leO for London in 1724 to purchase supplies from staBoners, booksellers and printers. When the teenager arrived in England, however, he felt duped when Keith’s leRers of introducBon never arrived as promised. Although forced to ﬁnd work at London’s print shops, Franklin took full advantage of the city’s pleasures—aRending theater 42 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 performances, mingling with the populace in coﬀee houses and conBnuing his lifelong passion for reading. A self-taught swimmer who craOed his own wooden ﬂippers, Franklin performed longdistance swims on the Thames River. (In 1968, he was inducted as an honorary member of the InternaBonal Swimming Hall of Fame.) In 1725 Franklin published his ﬁrst pamphlet, "A DissertaBon upon Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain," which argued that humans lack free will and, thus, are not morally responsible for their acBons. (Franklin later repudiated this thought and burned all but one copy of the pamphlet sBll in his possession.) Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1726 to ﬁnd that Deborah Read had married in the interim, only to be abandoned by her husband just months aOer the wedding. In the next few years he held varied jobs such as bookkeeper, shopkeeper and currency cuRer. He returned to a familiar trade in 1728 when he printed paper currency in New Jersey before partnering with a friend to open his own print shop in Philadelphia that published government pamphlets and books. In 1730 Franklin was named the oﬃcial printer of Pennsylvania. By that Bme, he had formed the “Junto,” a social and self-improvement study group for young men that met every Friday to debate morality, philosophy and poliBcs. When Junto members sought to expand their reading choices, Franklin helped to incorporate America’s ﬁrst subscripBon library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, in 1731. In 1729 Franklin published another pamphlet, "A Modest Enquiry into The Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency," which advocated for an increase in the money supply to sBmulate the economy. With the cash Franklin earned from his money-related treaBse, he was able to purchase The Pennsylvania GazeRe newspaper from a former boss. Under his ownership, the struggling newspaper was transformed into the most widely read paper in the colonies and became one of the ﬁrst to turn a proﬁt. He had less luck in 1732 when he launched the ﬁrst German-language newspaper in the colonies, the short-lived Philadelphische Zeitung. AOer the future Founding Father rekindled his romance with Deborah Read, he took her as his common-law wife in 1730. Around that Bme, Franklin fathered a son, William, out of wedlock who was taken in by the couple. The pair’s ﬁrst son, Francis, was born in 1732, but he died four years later of smallpox. The couple’s only daughter, Sarah, was born in 1743. Franklin’s prominence and success grew during the 1730s, especially with the publicaBon of Poor Richard’s Almanack at the end of 1732. In addiBon to weather forecasts, astronomical informaBon and poetry, the almanac—which Franklin published for 25 consecuBve years— included proverbs and Franklin’s wiRy maxims such as “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” and “He that lies down with dogs, shall rise up with ﬂeas.” 43 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Franklin amassed real estate and businesses and organized the volunteer Union Fire Company to counteract dangerous ﬁre hazards in Philadelphia. He joined the Freemasons in 1731 and was eventually elected grand master of the Masons of Pennsylvania. The 1740s saw Franklin expanding into entrepreneurship with invenBon of the Franklin stove, which provided more heat with less fuel, and also into scienBﬁc pursuits. His 1743 pamphlet "A Proposal for PromoBng Useful Knowledge" underscored his interests and served as the founding document of the American Philosophical Society, the ﬁrst scienBﬁc society in the colonies. By 1748, the 42-year-old Franklin had become one of the richest men in Pennsylvania. He turned his prinBng business over to a partner to give him more Bme to conduct scienBﬁc experiments. He moved into a new house in 1748 and acquired the ﬁrst of his slaves to work in the new home and in the print shop. Franklin’s views on slavery evolved over the following decades to the point that he considered the insBtuBon inherently evil, and thus, he freed his slaves in the 1760s. He became a soldier in the Pennsylvania miliBa at the age of 42, but his abiding interest in electricity was ignited at this Bme, too. His invesBgaBons into electrical phenomena were complied into “Experiments and ObservaBons on Electricity,” published in England in 1751. He conducted the famous kite-and-key experiment in 1752 to demonstrate that lighBng was electricity. He invented the lightning rod and coined new electricity-related terms that are sBll part of the lexicon, such as baRery, charge, conductor and electrify. A proliﬁc inventor, Franklin developed bifocals that could be used for both distance and reading. He is credited with invenBng the ﬁrst rocking chair, ﬂexible catheter and American penny. He even devised a new “scheme” for the alphabet that proposed to eliminate the leRers C, J, Q, W, X and Y as redundant. Franklin’s invenBons took on a musical bent as well. In 1761 he commenced development of the harmonica, a musical instrument composed of spinning glass bowls on a shaO. Both Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed music for the strange instrument. His self-educaBon earned him honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, England’s Oxford University and Scotland’s University of St. Andrews in Scotland. In 1749, Franklin wrote a pamphlet relaBng to the educaBon of youth in Pennsylvania that resulted in the establishment of the Academy of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania. Franklin became a member of Philadelphia’s city council in 1748 and a jusBce of the peace the following year. In 1751 Franklin was elected a Philadelphia alderman and a representaBve to the Pennsylvania Assembly, a posiBon to which he was re-elected annually unBl 1764. Two years later, he accepted a royal appointment as deputy postmaster general of North America. 44 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 When the French and Indian War began in 1754, Franklin called on the colonies to band together for their common defence, which he dramaBsed in The Pennsylvania GazeRe with a cartoon of a snake cut into secBons with the capBon “Join or Die.” He represented Pennsylvania at the Albany Congress, which adopted his proposal to create a uniﬁed government for the 13 colonies. Franklin’s “Plan of Union,” however, failed to be raBﬁed by the colonies. In 1757 he was appointed by the Pennsylvania Assembly to serve as the colony’s agent in England. Franklin sailed to London to negoBate a long-standing dispute with the proprietors of the colony, the Penn family, taking William and his two slaves but leaving behind Deborah and Sarah. He spent most of the next two decades in London, where he was drawn to the high society and intellectual salons of the cosmopolitan city. AOer Franklin returned to Philadelphia in 1762, he toured the colonies to inspect its post oﬃces and William took oﬃce as New Jersey’s royal governor, a posiBon his father arranged through his poliBcal connecBons in the BriBsh government. AOer Franklin lost his seat in the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1764, he returned to London as the colony’s agent without Deborah, who refused to leave Philadelphia. It would be the last Bme the couple saw each other. Franklin would not return home before Deborah passed away in 1774 from a stroke at the age of 66. He returned to London at a tense Bme in the relaBons between Great Britain and the American colonies. Parliament’s passage of the Stamp Act in March 1765 imposed a highly unpopular tax on all printed materials for commercial and legal use in the colonies. Since Franklin purchased stamps for his prinBng business and nominated a friend as the Pennsylvania stamp distributor, some colonists thought Franklin implicitly supported the new tax, and rioters in Philadelphia even threatened his house. Franklin’s passionate denunciaBon of the tax in tesBmony before Parliament, however, contributed to the Stamp Act’s repeal in 1766. Two years later he penned a pamphlet, “Causes of the American Discontents before 1768,” and he soon became an agent for MassachuseRs, Georgia and New Jersey as well. Franklin fanned the ﬂames of revoluBon by sending the inﬂammatory private leRers of MassachuseRs Governor Thomas Hutchinson, which called for the restricBon of the rights of colonists, to America where they caused a ﬁrestorm aOer their publicaBon by Boston newspapers. In the wake of the scandal, Franklin was removed as deputy postmaster general, and he returned to North America in 1775 as a devotee of the patriot cause. Always intellectually curious, Franklin began to speculate on his return trip across the AtlanBc Ocean about why the westbound trip always took longer, and his measurements of ocean temperatures led to his discovery of the existence of the Gulf Stream, the knowledge of which served to cut two weeks oﬀ the previous sailing Bme from Europe to North America. 45 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 In 1775, Franklin was elected to the Second ConBnental Congress and appointed the ﬁrst postmaster general for the colonies. And in 1776, he was appointed commissioner to Canada and was one of ﬁve men to draO the DeclaraBon of Independence. Franklin’s support for the patriot cause put him at odds with his Loyalist son. When the New Jersey miliBa stripped William Franklin of his post as royal governor and imprisoned him, his father chose not to intercede on his behalf. AOer voBng for independence, Franklin was elected commissioner to France and set sail to negoBate a treaty for the country’s military and ﬁnancial support. Much has been made of Franklin’s years in Paris, chieﬂy his romanBc life, as essenBally the ﬁrst US ambassador to France. AOer Deborah’s death, Franklin had a rich romanBc life in his nine years abroad. At the age of 74, he even proposed marriage to a widow named Madame HelveBus, but she rejected him. Franklin was embraced in France as much, if not more, for his wit and intellectual standing in the scienBﬁc community as for his status as a poliBcal appointee from a ﬂedging country. His reputaBon facilitated respect and entrees into closed communiBes, including that of King Louis XVI. And it was his adept diplomacy that led to the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which ended the RevoluBonary War. AOer almost a decade in France, Franklin returned to the United States in 1785. He was elected in 1787 to represent Pennsylvania at the ConsBtuBonal ConvenBon, which draOed and raBﬁed the new US ConsBtuBon. The oldest delegate at the age of 81, Franklin iniBally supported proporBonal representaBon in Congress, but he fashioned the Great Compromise that resulted in proporBonal representaBon in the House of RepresentaBves and equal representaBon by state in the Senate. Franklin helped found the Society for PoliBcal Inquiries, dedicated to improving knowledge of government, in 1787. He also became more vociferous in his opposiBon to slavery. He served as president of the Pennsylvania Society for PromoBng the AboliBon of Slavery, wrote many tracts urging the aboliBon of slavery and peBBoned the U.S. Congress in 1790 to end slavery and the slave trade. Benjamin Franklin died on April 17, 1790, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the home of his daughter, Sarah Bache. He was 84, suﬀered from gout and had complained of ailments for some Bme, compleBng the ﬁnal codicil to his will a liRle more than a year and a half prior to his death. He bequeathed most of his estate to Sarah and very liRle to William, whose opposiBon to the patriot cause sBll stung him. He also donated money that funded scholarships, schools and museums in Boston and Philadelphia. Franklin had actually wriRen his epitaph when he was 22: “The body of B. Franklin, Printer (Like the Cover of an Old Book Its Contents torn Out And Stript of its LeRering and Gilding) Lies Here, Food for Worms. But the Work shall not be Lost; For it will (as he Believ'd) Appear once More In a 46 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 New and More Elegant EdiBon Revised and Corrected By the Author.” In the end, however, the stone on the grave he shared with his wife in the cemetery of Philadelphia’s Christ Church reads simply, “Benjamin and Deborah Franklin 1790.” The image of Benjamin Franklin that has come down through history, along with the likeness on the $100 bill, is something of a caricature—a bald man in a frock coat holding a kite string with a key aRached. But the scope of things he applied to himself was so broad it seems a shame. Founding universiBes and libraries, the post oﬃce, shaping the foreign policy of the ﬂedgling United States, draOing the DeclaraBon of Independence, publishing newspapers, warming us with the Franklin stove, pioneering advances in science, lelng us see with bifocals and lighBng our way with electricity—all from a man who never ﬁnished school but shaped his life through abundant reading and experience, a strong moral compass and an unﬂagging commitment to civic duty. Franklin illumined corners of American life that sBll have the lingering glow of his aRenBon. He was a true polymath and entrepreneur, which is no doubt why he is oOen called the “First American.” 9.4.2. Franklin as author It is well-known that Benjamin Franklin was one of the most inﬂuenBal ﬁgures of the 18th Century in North America. Franklin was clearly a man of the Enlightenment: man of sciences, poliBcs and reason. OpBmism and hardworking is maybe one of his most notorious qualiBes. AOer understanding his life, readers can appreciate how this man reached his goals and became one of the most known printers of the United States of America. Since sBll only upper classes could achieve a proper educaBon, Benjamin Franklin’s whole life was a process of self-educaBon which was highly successful. This is why readers can noBce how Benjamin Franklin want them to expand their curiosity in everything around. Just through our own curiosity, civilisaBon can advance and improve its own vision of the world. It is important to take into account that scienBst during the 18th Century were not “proper professional scienBsts” as they are nowadays. Indeed, these scienBsts were just curious amateur people. Hence, although some scienBsts like Benjamin Franklin lacked of a formal educaBon, they did showed enough curiosity in invenBng and discovering famous theories. This special Enlightenment writer, scienBst and poliBcian results clearly convincing in his wriBngs thanks to his charisma, ambiBon, common sense and, of course, good prose. Besides, he obviously had great skills as diplomat which helped them when being convincing and persuasive. It is really interesBng how this progressive man has such as a spirit of tolerance and respect for every religious communiBes. In the case of the puritans, Franklin did not share all their ideas, but he truly admired their dedicaBon to hard-work and self-scruBny. This last one links with the idea of 47 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 self-judgement as good ciBzens. Franklin wanted Americans to self examine themselves in order to know whether they are good or bad ciBzens. To a great extent, the idenBty of true US ciBzens and consequently the idea of poliBcal independence was created by Benjamin Franklin. Hence, Franklin thought that the American community could improve by working hard and behaving as good ciBzens. • Poor Richard’s Almanack (1732-57) Benjamin Franklin began his career as writer with these almanack, through which Americans could ﬁnd factual informaBon and advices about how to be successful in life. The almanack included several sayings whose aim was to teach American ciBzens how to be good in their lives and jobs. Readers can also ﬁnd aphorisms, also known as “the way to wealth.” The almanac were absolutely full of oral proverbs, quota=ons from literature and memorable sayings. Thanks to this almanac, Franklin became a successful and popular man at the age of 25. Both his almanack and his autobiography shared the skills and habits which the author considered important to everyone, not only upper-classes. The clever use of popular sayings encouraged popular wisdom which is seen as important and useful as the school knowledge. In fact, these two works have been considered by scholars as the ﬁrst self-help books. This type of books became a typical American literary form since the 18th Century Bll nowadays. Something else to take into account is that Franklin claims for success in earthly life and not in heavenly life as did puritans. He was a very posiBve man who truly believed in human nature and encouraged Americans for organising a plan if wanted to become successful. In his wriBng style, Franklin opted for short sentences and certain words which made his sayings easier to memorise and eﬀecBve. This moral lessons were also a way to create the true American idenBty. Aphorisms: “There are no gains without pains” “At the working man’s house, hunger looks in but dares not enter” “Industry pays debts while despair increases them” 48 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 • Autobiography (1791-1793) Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography was ﬁrst published aOer his death and it is considered the ﬁrst example of successful model of life. There is a vast diversity of opinions about this work since not everyone reckons the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a literary work. Nevertheless, it is one of the ﬁrst wriBngs of the United States of America, so readers can ﬁnd the culture and life-style of the last years of the BriBsh colonies in North-America and the RevoluBonary period. The author recovers eighteen years of his life in diﬀerent places, though the most relevant fact about this autobiography is that Franklin pretended to become a model for every American. He thought that he was truly successful in life and that people could achieve prosperity in their lives by following his own advices and details. His pride and honour of having become such successful and rich in his life, made him wanted to compose an autobiography where he told in detail how he reached such peak. The United States are a classless society where everyone can do whatever s/he wants to from nothing. Absolutely everyone can be successful in life and there is even easier access to educaBon than in Europe. Benjamin Franklin opts for the ﬁrst person narrator so that readers can see the writer’s point of view everywhere, every Bme. However, Franklin claims for a dual perspecBve since he recalls from the past and his youth. This is because if the autobiographer wants to express everything in detail in a right and “objecBve” way, he needs a certain sort of Bme and to select signiﬁcant and relevant moments of his life. Hence, Benjamin Franklin not only becomes the writer, but also the editor. Linked to the previous paragraph, it is important to noBce that Franklin puts emphasis on his humble life since the very beginning, to some extent, in order to get closer to the readers6 . Since he is charismaBc, he ﬁnally achieves an eﬀecBve link to the reader. It is very interesBng when readers read chapters and menBons about the protests which made American a free naBon aOer the War of Independence. However, Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography does have some faults at the end where readers will ﬁnd the the author has “copied and pasted” some moments and expressions of previous chapters. This faults and ﬁnal collage of all his moments may be due to the old age of Franklin when he was ﬁnishing the Autobiography. Therefore, the quality of the autobiography decreases in the ﬁnal episodes. Benjamin Franklin actually was one of the most admired man of the Enlightenment in the United States since, among other reasons, the spirit and ideology of the 18th Century America 6 This is like saying: “hey! I was like you.” 49 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 resides in this Autobiography. OpBmism and trust in human beings are some of the most remarkable aspects collected in this work. This autobiography became an example of secular biographies like the puritan ones. Real account for the American dream of how to achieve success by hard-work and can-do altude. Religion is not rejected by Franklin since, although the thought that being a good ChrisBan did not mean going to Church every Sunday, he reckoned that ChrisBanity’s base resides in doing good acts and being generous and cheerful with ourselves and others. Besides, Franklin thinks that despite our wealth, we should save as much money as possible and the way we spend or save money says a lot of ourselves. It is deﬁnitely a sense of pride. EducaBon must be considered a desire and a privilege. Nonetheless, someone must be wanted to access to educaBon. It means that nobody can deny anyone to be educated, nor can oblige him/ her to learn. It is oneself who decides in being educated or not. The United States are studied or considered an experiment that is the sum of diﬀerent colonies which desired to create a naBon, the best in fact. It is a new civilisaBon which needs an own idenBty as the European countries. Besides, The US needs courage, faith and strength in order to reach such objecBve. In his secBon on virtues, some prinBng metaphors could be found such as the use of the word “errata” instead of sin. As in the rest of his autobiography, Franklin shows a clear and simple style of narraBon with short and clear sentences. He tried to look aRracBve for Americans in a way that they could pay aRenBon to his advices and moments. Although it is thought that he does not invent his life, there is no objecBvity at all since he does not tell everything about his life. Benjamin Franklin establishes a selecBon of thirteen virtues which he considered remarkable and that are explained in detail by him. Indeed, Franklin shares some of his schemes and how he ﬁnd out which virtues should men have. This is highly interesBng since the author tries to show evidence and a kind of rouBne to the readers in order to prove that these virtues are achievable by everyone. It has been menBoned several Bmes that Benjamin Franklin was an Enlightenment man, so that it is consequently not a surprise that he saw everything as an experiment. Nevertheless, Franklin is experimenBng with himself as the subject of the experiment. Hence, his intenBon could be to correct and change Americans behaviour in a more pracBcal plan. He is not only enumeraBng these virtues, but choosing them from the more simple to the most complicated ones. 50 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Deﬁnitely, scholars shall ﬁnd a scienBﬁc methodology though which everything is worked and analysed as an experiment. Franklin, in addiBon, includes every Bme he does not success, too, so that he tries to get ride of every mistake commiRed. 51 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 10: Early African-American Literature (in prose and verse): Olaudah Equiano (1745?-97) and Phillis Wheatley (1753-84) 10.1. Introduc=on to African-American slavery and literature Slavery in the BriBsh colonies was a constant conﬂicBve topic which will even separate the country during the 19th Century. These slaves came typically from Africa so that is why they were black and discriminated. Although the northern colonies pracBced slightly the slavery, they were and are considered aboli=onist whereas the southern ones did pracBced slavery. Laws deﬁned by race and desegregaBon made the US naBon diﬃcult to prosper due to this racism which, though slavery was ﬁnally abolished in 1866 by Abraham Lincoln, will last Bll nowadays. It is incredible how a country founded upon beauBful and prosperous bases such as equality and prosperity could dehumanise human-beings like the African-Americans. However, these people considered that since they were slaves and not humans, American laws could not be applied to them; African-Americans absolutely lacked of human rights. In literature, there are some copies of African-Americans who expressed their experiences through slave-narra=ves. Indeed, there are literary achievements found in some of these writers who told how life as slave was like in typically southern regions of the future United States. Unfortunately, these narraBves were not recovered Bll the 1960s with the African-American’s ﬁght for rights. 10.2. Olaudah Equiano (1745-97) In his autobiography, Olaudah Equiano writes that he was born in the Eboe province, in the area that is now southern Nigeria. He describes how he was kidnapped with his sister at around the age of 11, sold by local slave traders and shipped across the AtlanBc to Barbados and then Virginia. In the absence of wriRen records it is not certain whether Equiano's descripBon of his early life is accurate. Doubt also stems from the fact that, in later life, he twice listed a birthplace in the Americas. Apart from the uncertainty about his early years, everything Equiano describes in his extraordinary autobiography can be veriﬁed. In Virginia he was sold to a Royal Navy oﬃcer, Lieutenant Michael Pascal, who renamed him 'Gustavus Vassa' aOer the 16th-century Swedish king. Equiano travelled the oceans with Pascal for eight years, during which Bme he was bapBsed and learned to read and write. 52 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Pascal then sold Equiano to a ship captain in London, who took him to Montserrat, where he was sold to the prominent merchant Robert King. While working as a deckhand, valet and barber for King, Equiano earned money by trading on the side. In only three years, he made enough money to buy his own freedom. Equiano then spent much of the next 20 years travelling the world, including trips to Turkey and the ArcBc. In 1786 in London, he became involved in the movement to abolish slavery. He was a prominent member of the 'Sons of Africa', a group of 12 black men who campaigned for aboliBon. In 1789 he published his autobiography, 'The InteresBng NarraBve of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African'. He travelled widely promoBng the book, which became immensely popular, helped the aboliBonist cause, and made Equiano a wealthy man. It is one of the earliest books published by a black African writer. In 1792, Equiano married an Englishwoman, Susanna Cullen, and they had two daughters. Equiano died on 31 March 1797. The Interes3ng Narra3ve of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. WriNen by himself (1788). It is interesBng the point that Equiano clariﬁes that he was able to write this biography although African-Americans were not supposed to have the ability of wriBng or reading. He does not names himself as a current African, but as THE AFRICAN. Besides, he highlights that his narraBve is interesBng so that the reader can get truly caught by the Btle. Since publishing in the United States was highly risky for African-Americans, Equiano decided to publish his ﬁrst novel in the United Kingdom. CriBcs reckoned such kind of novel could be a clear aRack for the States, their old colonies, due to their anBquity in these terms. Indeed, several literary criBcs believe he “adorned” or exaggerated certain chapters and moments of his life since they seem to be idealised. The novel present some conversaBons among many slaves. SimultaneiBes with two literary forms running in the UK at the 18th Century: travel (i.e. Robison Crusoe) and picaresque literature (Moll Flanders). Travel literature because Equiano narrates his adventures when crossing the AtlanBc and switching owners; picaresque because he also tells his life when he was a child in Africa. Importance of ChrisBanity and struggle with God. There are no menBons of his pagan religion in Africa in his early life, but the author does menBon his problems with ChrisBanity and salvaBon. Since Equiano and others were forcibly converted to ChrisBanity, they thought they could enjoy the same rights every ChrisBan man has. Unfortunately, he was forbidden to enjoy such rights and good aOer-life. This was a huge shock since he was thought to be a true ChrisBan man, though Equiano and black men and women were actually not considered a proper human being. 53 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 According to Equiano, everyone is equal and can achieve total salvaBon thanks the Bible and God’s grace. The writer establishes a relevant comparison between the African-American slaves and the capBvity of the Israelites from the Old Testament. Israelites were serving as slaves for pagan pharaohs in a land which did not belong to the Jewish folk. Likewise happened to the African slaves when they were forcibly moved to the BriBsh colonies in North-America and forced to work for free. The second literary form Equiano is said to write like is the picaresque narra=ve. This literary genre ran in Europe during the 16-18th Centuries in Europe with classical novels like Moll Flanders (1722) by Daniel Defoe in England or The Life and Misfortunes of Lazarillo de Tormes (1554) in Spain. Equiano started working as a slave from a very young age, so that the fact that he narrates his misfortunes from the point of a child does ﬁt with the picaresque novel paRern. The author also adds some funny scenes through which the reader can perceive the innocence of this liRle Equiano. For instance, when he sailed to the colonies, he thought that the white men wanted to eat him. These white colonisers were seen as human beings with supernatural powers because of the way they drive the ship. Sadly, Equiano oOen thinks in commilng suicide due to these mistreatment and constant confusion about his future. Nevertheless, the reader can see how this black man is a true survivor who does not surrender and ﬁghts for his liberty. Indeed, this sad episodes’ aim is to make readers sympathise with the slavery issue. Although Equiano lived as a slave for a long Bme both in Africa and in North-American colonies, readers can see that, in the early chapters, Equiano says that even his family had slaves in Africa. Hence, why on earth should we trust someone who has suﬀered being slave and tries to denounce this cause when he actually had slaves during his childhood? Well, it is not that easy, because Equiano, in reality, tries to establish a diﬀerence between good and bad slavery. Besides, he argues that since human beings are all equal, slavery should not depend on races any longer. 10.3. Phillis Wheatley (1753-84) 10.3.1. Biography A pioneering African-American poet, Phillis Wheatley was born in Senegal/ Gambia around 1753. At the age of 8, she was kidnapped and brought to Boston on a slave ship. Upon her arrival, John Wheatley purchased the young girl, who was in fragile health, as a servant for his wife, Susanna. Under the family's direcBon, Wheatley (who, as was the custom at the Bme, adopted her master's last name) was taken under Susanna's wing. 54 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Her quick intelligence was hard to miss, and as a result, Susanna and her two children taught Wheatley to read and was acBvely encouraged in her literary pursuits by the household. Wheatley received lessons in theology, English, LaBn and Greek. Ancient history was soon folded into the teachings, as were lessons in mythology and literature. At a Bme when African Americans were discouraged and inBmidated from learning how to read and write, Wheatley's life was an anomaly. Wheatley wrote her ﬁrst published poem at around age 13. The work, a story about two men who nearly drown at sea, was printed in the Newport Mercury. Other published poems followed, with several also being published, further increasing Wheatley's fame. In 1773, Wheatley gained considerable stature when her ﬁrst and only book of verse, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, was published, with the writer having received patronage from Selina HasBngs, the Countess of HunBngdon, in England. As proof of her authorship, the volume included a preface in which 17 Boston men, including John Hancock, asserted that she had indeed wriRen the poems in it. Poems on Various Subjects is a landmark achievement in U.S. history. In publishing it, Wheatley became the ﬁrst African American and ﬁrst U.S. slave to publish a book of poems, as well as the third American woman to do so. A strong supporter of America's ﬁght for independence, Wheatley penned several poems in honor of the ConBnental Army's commander, George Washington. Wheatley sent one of said works, wriRen in 1775, to the future president, eventually inspiring an invitaBon to visit him at his headquarters in Cambridge, MassachuseRs. Wheatley accepted the oﬀer and visited Washington in March of 1776. Wheatley had traveled to London to promote her poems and received medical treatment for a health ailment that she had been baRling. AOer her return to Boston, Wheatley's life changed signiﬁcantly. While ulBmately freed from slavery, she was devastated by the deaths of several Wheatley family members, including Susanna (d. 1774) and John (d. 1778). In 1778, Wheatley married a free African American from Boston, John Peters, with whom she had three children, all of whom died in infancy. Their marriage proved to be a struggle, with the couple baRling constant poverty. UlBmately, Wheatley was forced to ﬁnd work as a maid in a boarding house and lived in squalid, horrifying condiBons. Wheatley did conBnue to write, but the growing tensions with the BriBsh and, ulBmately, the RevoluBonary War, weakened enthusiasm for her poems. While she contacted various publishers, she was unsuccessful in ﬁnding support for a second volume of poetry. Phillis Wheatley died in her early 30s in Boston, MassachuseRs, on December 5, 1784. 55 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 10.3.2. Poetry and style Through her style, readers can see neoclassical convenBons typical of a proper educated woman. She was highly inﬂuenced by 18th Century BriBsh writers such as Alexander Pope. Completely opposite to the puritan style of other American poets like Anne Bradstreet, Wheatley rather composes her poetry with a ﬂowering language with ornamented words. She even uses invocaBons to muses and hyperboles which truly make her poems achieve a good quality. Wheatley is also aware of metrics with a proper use of iambic pentameters, couplets, etc. It is really interesBng the fact that the main topic in her poems is spiritual freedom and nor slave. She does not aRack slavery at all although it does not mean that she claims race freedom in many of her poems. Both black and white people deserve eternal salvaBon and it can only be reached through death. Therefore, death is seen as something posiBve because it is the true release and reunion with God. AOerlife will compensate all the suﬀered and commiRed injusBces on Earth. This release also comes from the unhealthy life the author had so that she suﬀered quite a lot in this sense. Indeed, she clariﬁes that being pagan is worse than being slave. Freedom is also analysed in the poliBcal meaning. Wheatley tries to make readers perceive her opinion about the independence of the United States due to the injusBces of the UK. On being brought from Africa to America is one of her most interesBng and relevant poems. The poetess clariﬁes that the main contrast between Africa and America resides in religion. Slavery could deal, to a certain extent, with a pagan reason. There is a reversal since at the beginning she truly respects her roots and just at the line ﬁve she conﬁnes that her colours have been associated to evil connotaBons. EquaBon between the spiritual darkness of being associated to pagans and the belonging of both black and white communiBes to the Kingdom of God. In conclusion, Wheatley here is not opposed to the slavery issue but claims for equality because of her ChrisBanity. To the University of Cambridge. The poetess, despite her proudness of being a black woman, she shows herself ashamed of her blackness. Here, we will ﬁnd Ethiopians menBoned in her poems because she considers this parBcular people were either menBoned in the Bible. Hence, the reader must take into account that, likewise happened with the puritan wriBngs, these poems could be complicated because of the several Biblical menBons. These allusions make us understand that she is ﬁnally proud of her heritage. The poetess menBons America as the land of error where the main error is clearly slavery. She addressed this poem to the scholars of the University of Cambridge in New England as a protest poem which criBcises the slavery issue. 56 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 PART 4 THE “NEW AMERICANNESS” OF AMERICAN LITERATURE (1820-1850s) 57 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 11: The Beginnings of the novel: Washington Irving (1783-1859) and James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) 11.1.Introduc=on to the Na=onal Literature from the late 18th Century to the 1820s Just in 1776, the Thirteen Colonies of North-America declared themselves independent by forming a naBon called the United States of America out of the BriBsh Government. It is certainly from this year when true American writers ﬂourish with a patrioBc literature. For that, American writers will choose characterisBc American selngs, topics, characters, etc. in order to create a naBonal idenBty. As a result, readers will ﬁnd stories about Indians and men confrontaBon with a dangerous nature. Examples of patriotic writers: - Charles Bowden Brown with Edgar Huntley.
- Timothy Dwight with The Conquest of Canaan.
- Joel Barlow with The Columbiad.
Napoleon supposes a threatening for many European naBons since he is about to reach Russia and domains great part of the conBnent. Americans were, therefore, trying to grow as a naBon being threaten by Napoleon and the BriBsh Empire which does not admit that the colonies are independent. Indeed, there are a couple of wars being baRled over the AtlanBc like the War of 18127 against the United Kingdom. As a consequence, writers felt the necessity of documenBng these baRles sBll in order to raise the American’s spirit. In 1815, Andrew Jackson becomes a new republican leader who fought for American rights with the purpose of keeping the United States independent. In 1828, Jackson will be elected as president of the US. He was also famous for his ﬁghts against some NaBve-American communiBes set in Florida. As happened during the Enlightenment, American writers sBll thought it was Bme for opBmism, patrioBsm and hope so that the United States deserve a great naBonal literature. Thinkers, writers and criBcs did think that the victory of 1820 should have been transcribed and depicted on paper. Therefore, we readers will not ﬁnd anymore only poliBcal reasons and issues but cultural claims. It is absolutely true that Americans had a great patrioBc spirit. The problem is that the American The War of 1812 was a military conflict that lasted from June 1812 to February 1815, fought between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, its North American colonies, and its Native American allies. Historians in the United States and Canada see it as a war in its own right, but the British often see it as a minor theatre of the Napoleonic Wars. By the war's end in early 1815, the key issues had been resolved and peace returned with no boundary changes.
7 58 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 literary producBon was rather low. Fortunately, right at the beginning of the 19th Century, there will ﬂourish famous and successful writers such as Washington Irvy, who sold novels both in the US and the UK. Nevertheless, this patrioBsm is not translated into an opposiBon to the BriBsh literature since American writers tended to imitate or, let’s say, get inspired by BriBsh writers like William Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Alexander Pope, Sir Walter ScoR, etc. At the same Bme, Americans wanted to prove that they could be as sophisBcated as the BriBsh writers. For instance, some American writers will use European selngs leading apart this strict idea of patrioBsm which only permiRed to use recognisable selngs from the United States. In addiBon, other writers opt for past Bmes instead of the present as a RomanBc source. In 1803, the USA bought the Louisiana territory to France so that the US achieved a great expansion to the West not only by forcing NaBve-Americans but by trading with European colonies. Another addiBonal confrontaBon which almost separated the US was the establishment of slavery or aboliBonism. Finally, it was seemingly solved with the Missouri Compromises 8(1820-21). The birth of the “American Renaissance” (1830s-1850s) is a concept created by scholars during the 20th Century wherein a group of American writers between this period of Bme is gathered in order to ﬁnd this naBonal literary idenBty with a certain degree of maturity. This group will be formed by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne or Herman Melville. These scholars who thought that there writers had something in common which made them diﬀerent from European writers. Previous writers are not included because they are not thought to be of the same quality of these last menBoned. The United States of America turned into a literary marketplace during the 1800s, since American readers had access to the BriBsh contemporary writers like the Brontë’s sisters, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, etc. During this century, we will ﬁnd American publishing companies in a massive sense, especially because of the arrival of materials from Europe. The means of transportaBon were hard to control in such a big country unBl the expansion of the railway. Publishing books was a highly proﬁtable business since there were no copyrights which restricted the producBon of books. That is the reason why many American writers decided to publish in the UK and be paid for their work. Others just decided to write not as professionals but as amateurs. Some of them worked as journalists or had diﬃcult careers. Not only white but also African- The Missouri Compromise was a United States federal statute devised by Henry Clay. It regulated slavery in the country's western territories by prohibiting the practice in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north, except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri.
8 59 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 American writers decided to publish in the UK and, indeed, they were welcomed because of their criBcs to Americans. In this Bme, we will ﬁnd new interests in literary topics and tastes, so we are going to ﬁnd the birth of travel literature through which Americans could learn about other regions with writers like Margaret Fuller (Summer in the Lakes), Henry Dana (Two Years before the Mast) or Francis Parkman (The Oregon Trail). The reason of this producBon was not only about having new immigrants or territories, but having poor American ciBzens who could not aﬀord to travel and visit other places. Another genre which was born in this époque was the urban wri=ngs which showed how life was like in big ciBes such as New York, Boston, etc. Towards the 1840s-50s, American ciBes were crowded because of the diﬃculty of the life in the country side. Journals, magazines and newspapers were highly important in urban areas so that there was a great producBon of arBcles. Many arBcles treated topics about this diﬃcult life in the country side or how the depression was lived. It was a great opportunity for female writes since they could publish some of their arBcles in women magazines. Unfortunately, they could not be considered professional since women’s main aim sBll was to take care of their children and husbands. There will be certain female poetess who wrote about domesBc life and how frustraBng it was. The Antebellum period is the historical period previous to the American Civil War when the US needed not only to reform the aboliBon of slavery in certain States but in the whole country. Other reforms were also discussed such as the rights for women, catholicism and anB-catholic movements, NaBve-Americans, etc. All these are reforming movements whose eradicaBon of evilness was thought to bring the spirit of transcendentalism by Ralph Waldo Emerson. This patrioBc literary spirit conBnued with this writer who defended the idea of creaBng a true American literature out of the European sources. Nature and the creaBve powers of writers to compose such novels or poems were enough9. 11.2. Washington Irving (1783-1859) Washington Irving can be considered as the ﬁrst professional writer of the United States who was known at home and abroad. Literary criBcs believe that Irving’s aim was to charm and please his readers through an entertaining literature. His public, therefore, wanted to read stories about exoBc countries like Spain or even ghostly stories like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The demanding of his stories by publishers and the pressure from the public made Irving write short stories which were quickly wriRen and sold. Washington Irving really loved travelling so that he will set his 9 This notion of creating from oneself was actually inspired by the English Romanticism.
60 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 stories in European countries instead of American. This will cause him severe criBcs since the main main of American writers at that moment was to frame their stories in the US so that a new American Literature could emerge. All these ﬁcBonal stories are gathered in two collecBons called The Sketch Book (1819-20) and The Alhambra. The Spanish Book (1832). Irving associated Spain with good past Bmes, love, death and passion which supposed an splendid literature. Unfortunately, this gorgeous empire run-downed in the 19th Century with the lost of the colonies. Irving’s Spanish inﬂuences were writers like Calderon de la Barca or Lope de Vega. In addiBon, he also learnt Spanish history and had access to many manuscripts. This American author was deﬁnitely a highly culBvated man. Irving’s aRracBon to history and culture made of him a kind of RomanBc writer. He thought that not only informaBon from books was useful but local wisdom, too. Unfortunately, this exoBc and travel literature was not what American public claimed at the beginning of the 19th Century. As told in the previous point, Americans wanted to create a naBonal literature with American frameworks and cultural references which, once sold out the country, lead foreign readers see how US’s culture works. This is why his stories framed in Spain were not so welcomed as his scarce American stories. Indeed, what he actually wanted was to publish in Europe because the “Old ConBnent” oﬀered beRer opportuniBes than his beloved America. Some inﬂuences in his wriBng were BriBsh writers like Sir Walter ScoE due to his devoBon to history and search of a naBonal idenBty; Roman=cism and passion for past Bmes, exoBc places, approach to nature, concepBon of feelings upon reason, etc. Short instrucBve stories with speciﬁc purposes and messages. Nevertheless, these messages are not necessary moral. The self is quite remarkable and it is also a RomanBc feature since he, likewise William Wordsworth, that writers should feel spontaneous when wriBng. He takes old legends, tales and historical events in order to familiarise the reader to the context. Many German folktales will be used by this author who, once again, felt a strong connecBon with Europe. Therefore, this writer cannot be considered RomanBc at all, though shares speciﬁc features with these European revoluBonaries. Washington Irving really is a writer who constantly modiﬁes his stories according to what the American readers demand. The Sketch Book (1819-20) consists of short stories and essays inspired from German folktales. Just in this collecBon is where famous short stories like Rip Van Wrinkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow are found. Although his stories were not original at all, Irving’s originality remains in aRribuBng these stories to a ﬁcBonal Dutch historian called Dietrich Knicherbocker and adopBng 61 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 the idenBty of someone called Geoﬀrey Crayon. These stories have approaches to comedy, senBmental topics, etc. Through many of them, we readers can see the personality of Geoﬀrey Crayon. Deﬁnitely, the most known story from this collecBon is The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; story which must be understood as a both gothic and comical story. This combinaBon is absolutely untypical and unnatural for any gothic writer since gothic stories were supposed to scare readers, not making them laugh. His aim with this was basically to make fun of supersBBons so that people should be scare of this stories because it is ridiculous. In this ﬁcBonal village called Sleepy Hollow, ciBzens strongly believe in a supernatural story of a headless horseman who seeks his lost-incombat head. This ghostly soldier is a Hessian10 soldier original from Germany. This story fascinated Ichabod, the protagonist of this story who arrives to this village. Ichabod does not believe in this supersBBon because he ﬁnds absolutely irraBonal that a headless man can ride a horse and be around the village. The author leads the readers to interpret the story in plenty ways. For instance, it is true that this ghostly horseman did not exist, but it was a good-skilled horseman who pranked Ichabod at the very end of the story. Another opBon could be that since Ichabod is rejected by Katrina, he simply goes out Sleepy Hollow. When talking to the characters, we must establish a comparison between the two men: Ichabod and Brom van Brunt. The ﬁrst one is a well-educated man, supposedly raBonal, who is frightened at the end of the story by, apparently, the ghost. The second one is a good horseman who believes in supersBBons and is physically aRracBve. What Irving wants to say is that even Puritans, who were properly educated, could reach the peak of being supersBBous, too. Deﬁnitely, Irving wants to show us how a sporBve and supersBBous man can be superior to a man of leRers like Ichabod. These stories are warned not to be reliable at all because these tales have been orally told by many diﬀerent narrators, so that the ﬁnal story ends up being absolutely diﬀerent from the original one. However, the aim of these stories is not to be reliable but comical and mysterious. There is even an aRack to masculinity in these men who are completely scared of this legend. Indeed, he is a foolish man because he was a scholar and once had the opportunity of marrying Katrina. Unfortunately, there is no love in this story. Although many stories of Washington Irving are set in England or Spain, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow surprises readers and criBcs due to its locaBon in the United States. Firstly, we must take into account that fact about locaBon and secondly, that this is a classless society as North-America The term "Hessians" refers to the approximately 30,000 German troops hired by the British to help fight during the American Revolution. They were principally drawn from the German state of Hesse-Cassel, although soldiers from other German states also saw action in America.
10 62 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 was supposed to be like. Social ranks does not depend on heritage, but in merits. Nevertheless, patriarchal order is sBll found when Katrina’s father rules over her by thinking “what is beRer for her daughter.” It is rather diﬃcult to make a deeper analysis of this fact since there is no stream of consciousness. It does not mean that we readers can get an impression of this society which, commonly, is seen as a selﬁsh community where none cares anyone but oneself. His second sketch book is The Alhambra: The Spanish Sketch Book (1832), where we can ﬁnd the Legend of Don Munio. This story is set in Spanish Elizabethan Bmes when the Spanish conquerors were ﬁghBng against the Moorish set in Granada. Before telling the story, an intermediate narrates the story, so that it is a framed story composed by alike narrators. By this framing, Irving washes his hands, so anyone has the choice of believing or not which was once told11. It means that someone found a manuscript about this story and consequently narrates it to us. The aim of this type of literature is to create an entertaining story as well as remembering old and epic episodes from the exoBc Spain of the 15th Century. He reckoned that even if Europe was somehow similar, Spain had a special hue thanks to Spaniard’s pride and high-minds. In some way, folks build up their idenBBes thanks to their history. Importance of drama in death, love, risking someone’s life for his/her own reputaBon and presBge. This is, therefore, a heroic duty. Washington Irving also ﬁnds Spaniards as highly supersBBous, aRracBve, though. This sounds strange since we have previously seen in the Legend of Sleepy Hollow that Irving criBcised supersBBous people in North America. In the Legend of Don Munio, all characters are good, so Irving idealises the Spanish spirit and generosity at Medieval Times over all; it is seen as one of the most valued valors by the author. Besides, there is an idealised concept of war as an honourable act or forgiving. It must be taken into account that he is comparing this wars in Spain with wars in other countries like his own. Surely, this story is highly ﬁcBonalised and adorned by Irving since there are many acts of behaviour which can be in doubt. The author deﬁnitely wants us to ﬁnd sympathy for both sides of the war: the Moorish and the ChrisBans. ImparBal author and a writer with a very good opinion of Spain. 11.3. James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) James Fenimore Cooper was known in the literary world as a writer of fronBer novels and one of the ﬁrst professional American writers. Unlike Washington Irving, Cooper preferred American selngs and moBfs with certain episodes of the American Independence. He can be considered the 11 What the Hell? 63 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 creator of fron=er novels, novels about European seRlers in the colonies and the expansion to the West against NaBve-Americans. This type of novels can be considered epic as well since they raise the ﬁgure, typically, of a white man. As menBoned, all of them were about ﬁghts against NaBve-American communiBes. In fact, western movies of the 20th Century were inspired by this type of novels. FronBer novels also address poliBcal issues so that they were used, to a certain extent, to criBcise the massive and violent expansion to the West. CriBcs have found in this stories of the early 19th Century a concepBon of the United States as a corrupted naBon since this country which was supposed to be prosperous, ﬁnally ends up being strongly corrupted. Nevertheless, there is sBll land to conquer and hope to fulﬁl the American Dream. Americans imagined that in the other side of the fronBer, there was sBll hope and wilderness in this country. The only obstacle were clearly the NaBve-American communiBes set in the (their) conBnent. In 19th Century American minds, NaBve-Americans were the ones who were invading Americans’ lands. This myth is absolutely complementary to the Manifest DesBny. Hence, this civilisaBon should be eradicated. Cooper needed to write and draw new readers because of economical reasons. This is the reason why he wrote that much and short. Nevertheless, we can ﬁnd an evoluBon as a writer: the ﬁrst novel he published was Precau3on. In this novel, Cooper imitates somehow the novel of manners running in the UK at the early 19th Century. Just in his second novel Btled The Spy he used characters and events from the American Independence RevoluBon. He will ﬁnd inspiraBon in BriBsh writers like Sir Walter ScoR and his novels about the history of Scotland. In addiBon, he will try yo make true naBonal literature. Right in Pioneers, he started debaBng in the invasion on NaBve-Americans’ land. In a way, he defended white seRlers, who, according to him and the vast majority of Americans, had the right of land. On the other hand, NaBve-Americans had not that noBon of land because they were nomads and consequently lands cannot be conquered and dominated by anyone. Cooper shows ambivalence since he will defend the white seRlers over the NaBve-Americans at the same Bme he defends NaBve-Americans0 concepBon of nature as something which cannot be owned. The Leather Stocking Tales, The Praire and Na3on of the Americans. James Fenimore Cooper was highly criBcised because of his style. CriBcs said that Cooper wrote so fast that his style got damaged. This fastness has been previously explained by the need of publishing as much novels as possible if wanted to eat. This is the reason why he was a bit unworried and distracted. His 64 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 characters lack of individual consciousness so that they represent something though he does not go deeper in descripBons. He will be called “the American Sir Walter ScoR.” SenBmental use of history through both NaBve-Americans and seRlers. Suspense, fantasy and improvability were eﬀects he willed to provoke in readers unlike heroism and victory in baRle. There is symbolism behind these characters but readers must see it from diﬀerent perspecBves if want to reach such hidden meaning. TradiBonally, these novels are based on the creaBon of heroes and villains. The Last of the Mohicans and Narra3ve of 1757 Plot: It is the late 1750s, and the French and Indian War grips the wild forest fronBer of western New York. The French army is aRacking Fort William Henry, a BriBsh outpost commanded by Colonel Munro. Munro’s daughters Alice and Cora set out from Fort Edward to visit their father, escorted through the dangerous forest by Major Duncan Heyward and guided by an Indian named Magua. Soon they are joined by David Gamut, a singing master and religious follower of Calvinism. Traveling cauBously, the group encounters the white scout NaRy Bumppo, who goes by the name Hawkeye, and his two Indian companions, Chingachgook and Uncas, Chingachgook’s son, the only surviving members of the once great Mohican tribe. Hawkeye says that Magua, a Huron, has betrayed the group by leading them in the wrong direcBon. The Mohicans aRempt to capture the traitorous Huron, but he escapes. Hawkeye and the Mohicans lead the group to safety in a cave near a waterfall, but Huron allies of Magua aRack early the next morning. Hawkeye and the Mohicans escape down the river, but Hurons capture Alice, Cora, Heyward, and Gamut. Magua celebrates the kidnapping. When Heyward tries to convert Magua to the English side, the Huron reveals that he seeks revenge on Munro for past humiliaBon and proposes to free Alice if Cora will marry him. Cora has romanBc feelings for Uncas, however, and angrily refuses Magua. Suddenly Hawkeye and the Mohicans burst onto the scene, rescuing the capBves and killing every Huron but Magua, who escapes. AOer a harrowing journey impeded by Indian aRacks, the group reaches Fort William Henry, the English stronghold. They sneak through the French army besieging the fort, and, once inside, Cora and Alice reunite with their father. A few days later, the English forces call for a truce. Munro learns that he will receive no reinforcements for the fort and will have to surrender. He reveals to Heyward that Cora’s mother was part “Negro,” which explains her dark complexion and raven hair. Munro accuses Heyward of 65 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 racism because he prefers to marry blonde Alice over dark Cora, but Heyward denies the charge. During the withdrawal of the English troops from Fort William Henry, the Indian allies of the French indulge their bloodlust and prey upon the vulnerable retreaBng soldiers. In the chaos of slaughter, Magua manages to recapture Cora, Alice, and Gamut and to escape with them into the forest. Three days later, Heyward, Hawkeye, Munro, and the Mohicans discover Magua’s trail and begin to pursue the villain. Gamut reappears and explains that Magua has separated his capBves, conﬁning Alice to a Huron camp and sending Cora to a Delaware camp. Using decepBon and a variety of disguises, the group manages to rescue Alice from the Hurons, at which point Heyward confesses his romanBc interest in her. At the Delaware village, Magua convinces the tribe that Hawkeye and his companions are their racist enemies. Uncas reveals his exalted heritage to the Delaware sage Tamenund and then demands the release of all his friends but Cora, who he admits belongs to Magua. Magua departs with Cora. A chase and a baRle ensue. Magua and his Hurons suﬀer painful defeat, but a rogue Huron kills Cora. Uncas begins to aRack the Huron who killed Cora, but Magua stabs Uncas in the back. Magua tries to leap across a great divide, but he falls short and must cling to a shrub to avoid tumbling oﬀ and dying. Hawkeye shoots him, and Magua at last plummets to his death. Cora and Uncas receive proper burials the next morning amid ritual chants performed by the Delawares. Chingachgook mourns the loss of his son, while Tamenund sorrowfully declares that he has lived to see the last warrior of the noble race of the Mohicans. Analysis of the novel: This story is framed in 1757 North-America during the baRles against the BriBsh and French armies in the colonies. Both sides had allies and it is here where Mohicans and Delaware tribes defended the BriBsh army (good Indians) and the Hurons and Mowaks defend the Frenchs (bad Indians). Although the event is absolutely real, It has been absolutely ﬁcBonalised in order to create a naBonal novel. The author used both wriRen and oral sources as well as convenBons of literary forms (epic, historical romances and capBvity narraBves). He adopted all these three types of narraBve in his novels unBl ﬁnding a capture-pursuit-rescue order. Women are represented in a stereotyped way by which the blonde woman is the stupid and preRy one, whereas the bruneRe woman is intelligent and not so spectacular. The aim of this story is to represent how the author thought life was like in fronBers during these baRles. This life-style was a historical reality which was used by Cooper for many of his novels. 66 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Indian warriors are represented as bad and savage beings. Though there is a diﬀerence between good Indians and bad Indians, the author clariﬁes that they are all Indians and consequently diﬀerent from white seRlers. They can be either good and wise but very supersBBous. It must be taken into account the name of both sides: noble savages (contradictory terms since they mean that they have noble principles, not trustworthy, though, because of their savage nature). French supporters are called devil, which deals with demonic terms. Magua is criBcised for being a vicBm of the Westward and the French invasions. This Indian in parBcular did not know what alcohol was unBl he got addicted by the Frenchs. The fact that they were diﬀerent from the white seRlers make absolutely impossible the integraBon of NaBve-Americans in the American society. The myth of the vanishing Indians talks about the destrucBon of these tribes as something piBful but needful. Fortunately, they were not completely exterminated. Love is impossible between these two communiBes but it does not maRer since even those American readers of the 19th Century felt pity for them. For senBmental purposes, greed is found in this last Mohican. Importance of the purity of race. Americans could not allow interracial sex and procreaBon, so they have to defend the purity of white people. Although the true heroes die, white characters are seen as the true winners of this struggle. This novel also provides a terrible portray of NaBveAmericans as savages who kill mercilessly even drinking the blood of their vicBms. Symbolism and stereotypes are strongly present in this novels so that it is not about the acts of the characters themselves but about what they truly represent: NaBve-Americans are savages; blonde woman are good and preRy; white people are absolutely good and raBonal. In addiBon, readers will ﬁnd deaths, ex=nc=on and doom as features and impressions by the end of the novel, though we sBll can ﬁnd hope. This hope of rebirth reminds readers to the myth of King Arthur in England. 67 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 12: Roman=c Individualism and Gothic Realms: Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) 12.1. The rise of the American Gothic Since the late 18th Century, the United States suﬀered the experimentaBon of a literary genre running in Europe known as the gothic. It is surprising how such an opBmist country, full of happiness and hope rose in the United States. ARracBon to the irraBonal and strange beauty of sorrow. The gothic gives voice to the hide nightmare underneath the American Dream. There are exisBng problems in the idenBty of Americans as well as in the economy and society. The past history of the US resides in the colonisaBon of the Puritans; such religious community sBll present in the 19th Century US. Hence, Americans had created an image of self-conﬁdence whereas they deep inside call for violence and darkness. The reason why we do feel aRracBon to this kind of literature is because, to a great extent, is the representaBon of our subconscious as well as due to its weirdness and irraBonality. Gothic moBfs such as prisons and old-buildings typically haunted by ghosts, death, evil and supernatural creatures. Fears, apprehensions, historical crimes will clearly be an inspiraBon for these American writers who will make their gothic rather diﬀerent from the European one. This gothic is the gothic of the human mind, since it expresses the dark desires and perversity of the human mind. American gothic writers used the prosopoeia when composing their stories. It means that, for instance, ghosts will represent subjecBve ideas of a dark past. They will not be stuck into something special, but rather try to experiment with this genre. These writers, indeed, can be considered authors of quality out of this concept of writers of best-sellers, They will try to get into our minds and explore the unconsciousness in a dark way. RomanBcism is absolutely present in this literary movement, so it will cause a great inﬂuence to American writers of the late 18th Century. We can ﬁnd two diﬀerent trends of this movement is North-America: transcendentalism and gothic. The ﬁrst one deals with the opBmism of human race, whereas the second one with the decadence of mankind: Transcendentalism Gothic Americans were thought to be the perfect representaBon of their naBon: fake. They actually showed themselves as happy people with prosperous moBfs which did hide an obscure past. There will be typical characters of the age who show themselves with the memories of their past, both the naBonal and familiar past. Past is important because it complicates people’s lives. American 68 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 gothic is kind of sophisBcated and modern to a great extent. The gothic is a symptom that calls for a terrible past which is clearly returning. Authors like Edgar Allan Poe or Nathaniel Hawthorne opted for exploring people’s pasts and minds in order to ﬁnd what is going on in their subconsciousness. Great quanBty of blood, crimes, repression which has an aRracBve paRern for readers. This certain aRracBon to the abject deals with the mystery of what happens in between death and life. According to psychoanalyBc theories, we store everything which is not accepted by society or ourselves in our subconsciousness and though we think it is hidden, it comes back once something terrible happens. Events from childhood are fully present in our minds though people are not aware about it. This is the true American gothic: the return of our own dark past. One of the ﬁrst gothic American writers which can me menBoned is Charles Brockden Brown. Brown is also known as one of the ﬁrst patrioBc writers of the late 18th Century as well as one of the ﬁrst gothic writer of the United States of America. Despite all this descripBon of the American gothic, Charles Brockden Brown adopted the European gothic style from the UK and Germany. He published stories typically about murders and strange events in newspapers in his early career. Lately, Charles Brockden Brown published Wieland or the Transforma3on in 1798. According to the author, the reason why strange events take place in our lives is due to supernatural cases. It is the case of Clara and Theodore in the story. Clara narrates a story about strange events and acts commiRed by members of her family like her brother Theodore. Clara lives in this prosperous young naBon, though, unfortunately, she does not ﬁnd herself comfortable at all because of these horrible crimes. Clara cannot assimilate this horror because she cannot ﬁnd out the criminal cases commiRed by her family. This environment of constant doubtless causes a sense of uncertainty in readers. On the other hand, Wieland or the TransformaKon is the story about an Enlightenment man who turns into a murderer. This hidden self calls and appears in a horrible way since Theodore thinks he hears God, who asks him for doing terrible things and commilng horrible crimes. In reality, all this begins when a mysterious ventriloquist comes to the town and manipulates Theodore by imitaBng voices. In fact, Theodore’s ancestors are Germans who seek peace and liberty in colonial America. To sum up, the author clariﬁes through this novel that mankind is damned and cannot change at all its roots; even though if someone tries to avoid the same errors as their ancestors, this person is tend to commit them. The importance of this novel resides in his achievement of approaching to the European gothic. It means that though it is not a novel of the quality of Edgar Allan Poe’s, it s a ﬁrst aRempt to creaBng one of the most successful genres of the North-American literature. 69 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Other American writer who truly dominated this movement and style was Nathaniel Hawthorne12. He could be considered both a pioneer and someone inspired by the gothic, since readers shall ﬁnd many aspects in his romances which deal with this movement. For instance, the way he wrote ﬁcBon is inﬂuenced by his family roots and the crimes commiRed in the past such as the witchcraO trials of Salem. Just in the very beginning of one his most famous romance, The Scarlet LeNer, Hawthorne introduces the novel with a ﬁrst chapter called “The Custom House,” where readers can appreciate this atmosphere of past events and crimes. It is deﬁnitely the call from a criminal past which has not been forgoRen at all. 12.2. Edgar Allan Poe (1809-49) 12.2.1. Biography Edgar Allan Poe's evocaBve short stories and poems captured the imaginaBon and interest of readers around the world. His imaginaBve storytelling led to literary innovaBons, earning him the nickname "Father of the DetecBve Story." Some aspects of his life, like his literature, is shrouded in mystery, and the lines between fact and ﬁcBon have been blurred substanBally since his death. Poe never really knew his parents — Elizabeth Arnold Poe, a BriBsh actress, and David Poe, Jr., an actor who was born in BalBmore. His father leO the family early in Poe's life, and his mother passed away from tuberculosis when he was only three. Separated from his brother William and sister Rosalie, Poe went to live with John and Frances ValenBne Allan, a successful tobacco merchant and his wife, in Richmond, Virginia. Edgar and Frances seemed to form a bond, but he had a more diﬃcult relaBonship with John Allan. By the age of 13, Poe was a proliﬁc poet, but his literary talents were discouraged by his headmaster and John Allan, who preferred that Poe follow him in the family business. Preferring poetry over proﬁts, Poe reportedly wrote poems on the back of some of Allan's business papers. Money was also an issue between Poe and John Allan. Poe went to the University of Virginia in 1826, where he excelled in his classes, however, he didn't receive enough funds from Allan to cover all of his costs. Poe turned to gambling to cover the diﬀerence, but ended up in debt. He 12 Further studied in “American Romance.” 70 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 returned home only to face another personal setback—his neighbour and ﬁancée Sarah Elmira Royster had become engaged to someone else. Heartbroken and frustrated, Poe moved to Boston. While in Boston, Poe published his ﬁrst book, Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827. He also joined the U.S. Army around this Bme. Two years later, Poe learned that Frances Allan was dying of tuberculosis, but by the Bme he returned to Richmond she had already passed away. While in Virginia, Poe and Allan brieﬂy made peace with each other, and Allan helped Poe get an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Before going to West Point, Poe published a second poetry collecBon Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems in 1829. Poe excelled at his studies at West Point, but he was kicked out aOer a year for his poor handling of his duBes. During his Bme at West Point, Poe had fought with his foster father, who had remarried without telling him. Some have speculated that Poe intenBonally sought to be expelled to spite Allan, who eventually cut Bes with Poe. AOer leaving West Point, Poe published another book and focused on his wriBng full Bme. He traveled around in search of opportunity, living in New York City, BalBmore, Philadelphia and Richmond. From 1831 to 1835, he lived in BalBmore, where his father was born, with his aunt Maria Clemm and her daughter Virginia. In 1834, John Allan died, leaving Poe out of his will, but providing for an illegiBmate child Allan had never met. Poe, who conBnued to struggle living in poverty, got a break when one of his short stories won a contest in the BalBmore Saturday Vister. He began to publish more short stories and in 1835 landed an editorial posiBon with the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. During this Bme, Poe also began to devote his aRenBon to his young cousin, Virginia, who became his literary inspiraBon, as well as his love interest. The couple married in 1836 when she was only 13 years old. At the Southern Literary Messenger, Poe developed a reputaBon as a cut-throat criBc, wriBng vicious reviews of his contemporaries. His scathing criBques earned him the nickname the "Tomahawk Man." Poe also published some of his own works in the magazine, including two parts of his only novel, The NarraBve of Arthur Gordon Pym. His tenure at the magazine proved short. Poe's aggressive-reviewing style and someBmes combaBve personality strained his relaBonship with the publicaBon, and he leO the magazine in 1837. His problems with alcohol also played a role in his departure, according to some reports. Poe went on to brief sBnts at Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, Graham's Magazine, The Broadway Journal, and he also sold his work to Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, among other journals. Despite his success and popularity as a writer, Poe conBnued to struggle ﬁnancially and he advocated for higher wages for writers and an internaBonal copyright law. Poe was overcome by grief aOer the death of his beloved Virginia in 1847. While he conBnued to work, he suﬀered from poor health and struggled ﬁnancially. His ﬁnal days remain somewhat of 71 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 a mystery. He leO Richmond on September 27, 1849, and was supposedly on his way to Philadelphia. On October 3, Poe was found in BalBmore in great distress. He was taken to Washington College Hospital where he died on October 7. His last words were "Lord, help my poor soul." At the Bme, it was said that Poe died of "congesBon of the brain." But his actual cause of death has been the subject of endless speculaBon. Some experts believe that alcoholism led to his demise while others oﬀer up alternaBve theories. Rabies, epilepsy, carbon monoxide poisoning are just some of the condiBons thought to have led to the great writer's death. Shortly aOer his passing, Poe's reputaBon was badly damaged by his literary adversary Rufus Griswold. Griswold, who had been sharply criBcised by Poe, took his revenge in his obituary of Poe, portraying the giOed yet troubled writer as a mentally deranged drunkard and womaniser. He also penned the ﬁrst biography of Poe, which helped cement some of these misconcepBons in the public's minds. While he never had ﬁnancial success in his lifeBme, Poe has become one of America's most enduring writers. His works are as compelling today as they were more than a century ago. An innovaBve and imaginaBve thinker, Poe craOed stories and poems that sBll shock, surprise and move modern readers. 12.2.2. Edgar Allan Poe as literary cri=c and writer Edgar Allan Poe is undoubtedly the master of gothic; aRracBon to death and whatever that surrounds death and mystery. Probably one of the most original, eccentric and extravagant writer of the American Renaissance. Poe is not interested at all in Europe, nor really in the US, but in humankind. The writer claims overall “art for the art’s sake” in literature, so wriBng is an acBvity with only arBsBc purposes and is not made for entertaining or teaching, but rather for rising the spirit of art. Although art has no speciﬁc purposes, it does make people react in a way as well as create beauty from nothing. Poetry, for instance, provides pleasure due to its indeﬁniteness. Poe considers himself more as poet than a narraBve writer since he believes that brief literary peaces creates a shocker impact on readers. As it was previously menBoned, Edgar Allan Poe chooses death as the main topic of his literature. Indeed, death is not enough, but the death of two young lovers. Strangeness in beauty with a great inﬂuence in European writers of the 19th Century such as Baudelaire. Even though the greatest impact of Edgar Allan Poe resides in his ﬁcBon. Poe is not an imitator of European writers since he truly started wriBng from his own creaBng a new and disBnguished literature highly acclaimed by criBcs and popular writers. It must be highlighted his parBcular style, innovaBons and 72 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 moBfs which made easy the manipulaBon of our minds to the extent of ﬁnding a horrible way of represenBng sorrow. Poe reacted absolutely against the Age of the Enlightenment that was primarily based on common sense as well as the European gothic which is criBcised by him of low quality. In many of this stories, Poe is capable of making fun of the BriBsh and German gothic. Hence, he is rather ironic, though he likes this gothic to a liRle extent. He reckons that European gothic is absolutely stereotyped through the usage of dark places and selngs. Poe will even go further and ﬁnd out the gothic essence in our interior; in our darkest and most macabre thinkings. Gothic resides in people’s self and not in external elements as European writers thought. Literary criBc whose aim was to be sophisBcate the gothic wriBng of Europe at the same Bmes he created an American style. Science ﬁcBon and detecBve stories were brought to the US thanks to Poe. The criBc was able to get into the minds of criminals so that he produces a rather realisBc impact on readers who believe that it is the true way a criminal thinks like. Edgar Allan Poe was highly admired during his lifeBme both by literary criBcs and common readers. He is deﬁnitely the master of narraBve since he is able to create emoBons and eﬀects on readers through words. Unlike writers like Washington Irving who had to write fast and carelessly in order to sell plenty novels and short stories, Poe worked really hard in each short story and poem he composed. His wriBngs are based on his life-Bme tragedies. He became a hero in literature because of the present of this parBcular death of her beloved Virginia. Drug addicBons aﬀected him hardly, too. His poetry and short stories can only be judged by ourselves. Feelings and fears are clearly overlooked, so people cannot disregard his fears, sadness and melancholy. Nevertheless, Poe says that he does not think his life aﬀected him on his way of wriBng and themes. 12.2.3. Literary Theory Edgar Allan Poe was a journalist and literary reviewer in the United States who could publish his essays in some magazines. His most famous essay is clearly “The Philosophy of Composi=on,” where he develops the proper way of wriBng. Edgar Allan Poe’s main and most relevant principles are length, unity of eﬀect and method. In order to argument his essay, Poe opts for illustraBng it by his most famous poem The Raven. The ﬁrst one is length. This principle deals with the length poems and short stories must respect. According to Poe, either a poem or a story must be read in one single silng. This is the reason why he encourages writers to compose short stories instead of novels. The aﬀairs of ordinary life will divide your aRenBon as a reader. Poe simply wants us readers to be capable of 73 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 reading short stories and poems which does not suppose a waist of Bme and even achieve a greater impact. Poe advises that the maximum length of a poem should be around 100 verses. The second one is method. By a speciﬁc method, Poe diminishes the idea of arBsBc imaginaBon. It means that writers lie when they say they get inspired by anything in parBcular. WriBng is rather a scienBﬁc method in which hard work is required. The third and last one is unity of eﬀect. When someone writes a short story or poem, this writer needs to set a plan and think at least about the conclusion and the eﬀect s/he is willing to produce. Tone and mood of literary works are especially relevant when wriBng since that is the very way a poem or a short story will be remembered. This lack of purpose many writers in history used to have feds up to a great extent Edgar Allan Poe. There are no didacBc purposes, but just the intenBon of overﬂowing emoBons such as grieve, sadness and terror. Writers deﬁnitely may have to clarify the main purpose of provoking emoBons. These three principles are argued with examples of his famous poem The Raven. Edgar Allan Poe does not choose randomly these examples and images beforehand since everything is previously studied. There are certain factors and purposes which make the poet write such poem. A very used illustraBon is the pallid bust of Pallas, that contrasts with the black raven. Everything is measured and carefully planned, so any single aspect of the poem is accidental. In addiBon, everything is symbolic and keeps a meaning. As the most beauBful and worth topic, Edgar Allan Poe opts for choosing the death of a beau=ful woman and the bereaved lover. Both Annabel Lee and The Raven include death of a beauBful and young woman as the main topic. By this death, the poet could only achieve an accurate poeBcal meaning. Even though he was highly criBcised as misogynisBc by scholars and literary criBcs. Psychoanalysts do agree with this theory as well. It is thought to be a dangerous fantasy as well as something beauBful and placid somehow. Nevertheless, this topic will be used by many during the whole 19th Century in Great Britain, too. Other fact that aﬀected Poe was, of course, the high rank of death as well as the Black Death of the 14th Century in Europe. Feminists reckon that femininity and death have been treated as an art work for long, not only in Poe’s wriBngs. In a way, Poe makes his wishes real through poetry. This object of desire is murdered or simply killed when wriBng, though readers know it does not happen that easily. Gothic is an arBsBc experience with death and dark moBfs caused mainly by curiosity. 74 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 12.2.4 Edgar Allan Poe: a gothic poet Annabel Lee (1849). This ﬁrst poem is a story about an unknown child who met a girl called Annabel Lee in a fantasBc kingdom by the sea. Annabel dies apparently by angels or demons. Despite her death, their love remains and goes beyond their graves. There are two bodies (one dead and another one alive), though just one soul. He admits that every night, he lies down by her side in her grave by the sea. The inspiraBon for this poem is likely to be his wife Virginia Clem. When analysing the poem, readers can realise Poe did choose a real locaBon in America, but an imaginary kingdom, he “kingdom by the sea.” The place seems ﬁrst to be idilic, a kind of paradise where love once sprang between Annabel Lee and the narrator of the poem. Although Annabel dies, her lover clariﬁes that her soul remains over there. Despite Poe’s opinion of RomanBcism, he cannot deny that he is a true RomanBc writer. As a RomanBc poet, Poe adds gothic elements as well as the idea of RomanBc love. The narrator truly loves a beauBful woman who dies for unknown reasons. The very climax of female beauty is clearly the death of this woman. As menBoned previously in these notes, the main elements which characterises Poe’s poetry are women, death, poetry and beauty. There are no sexual references, so it is unknown whether they had sex or not. It is up for us to guess. Anyhow, Annabel Lee is the exaltaBon of Platonic love; love beyond death between two innocent souls. This kind of love springs when the two lovers are children. Annabel Lee is indeed represented as an idol, a goddess that can only be met again through love and death. This love is pure, innocent, not corrupted by adult necessiBes such as sex. Experience provides corrupBon and childhood is the Bme when we are naBve and experience our ﬁrst love. Poe believes that this love is stronger and eternal, and consequently is worth to go beyond grave. Love cannot be understood in the same way when we are children than at adulthood. As known, gothic is related to RomanBcism and the idilic kingdom by the sea is absolutely gothic at the beginning and even more aOer Annabel’s death. Once Annabel dies, everything becomes down-run. This iniBal happiness is replaced by nostalgia and sadness. However, he has hope and thinks that love can exists aOer death, so it is not that complicated as an obstacle. He can see the sparkles of her eyes so that she is not absolutely forgoRen. When talking about formal aspects, the poem is composed by six stanzas with diﬀerent measures and rhythmic paRers. It has a very good musical sound thanks to the repeBBon of certain words and sentences. By this way, Poe creates a melancholic atmosphere. AlliteraBon by repeaBng sounds like /l/ or /w/: “Annabel Lee,” “who were older than we.” Some rhythmic paEers are also repeated: i.e. “kingdom by the sea,” “I and my Annabel Lee.” Precise choice of words in order to create a kind of fairy tale. The choice of the Kingdom by the Sea, for instance, has 75 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 RomanBc connotaBons since many romances used to take place in this kind of places. However, Poe opts for giving a gothic point of view, so he adds the death of this young woman. Images of light at the beginning of the poem with happiness, love. AOer Annabel’s death, clouds and the wonderful environment of the very beginning turns out. The Raven (1845) from The Raven and other Poems. The Raven is clearly the most famous poem of Edgar Allan Poe. This poem is well-known for its highly stylised language and musicality. The narrator is a lover whose beloved Lenore has recently died. When he is reading, he is surprised by the visit of a mysterious raven that makes him get mad. The repeBBon of “nevermore” by the raven is the reason of his madness since the lover asks it quesBons whose answer is “nevermore” because it is what the animal only quotes. Hence, the narrator is kind of masochisBc due to his insistence. As it is said in his essay, this poem is carefully wriRen, step by step with a precise choice of his words. It was absolutely calculated since the author tries to follow a speciﬁc purpose. Edgar Allan Poe keeps his three principles, from “The Philosophy of ComposiBon,” of length, unity of eﬀect and method. Everything has a meaning, so does the repeBBon of “nevermore,” that distresses both the reader and the narrator. The choice of a raven is something either meditated. This bird stems for negaBve connotaBons such as death, darkness or bad omen. It is the birth of the Underworld. This bird maintains himself upon the bust of the Greek goddess Pallas in the studio of the scholar. This white bust makes us noBce that the narrator is supposed to be a scholar, therefore raBonal. Nevertheless, he ﬁghts against an irraBonal animal which is completely opposite to the white bust of the goddess. The atmosphere, the place (unknown but far away) and the period when the story is developed (December, midnight) deals with this decadent and gothic concept Poe pretended to achieve. All these items along the acBons of both the raven and the scholar end up in sadness, fear and digging up the unconsciousness of the reader. Therefore, Edgar Allan Poe does not give and special or speciﬁc message/metaphor, but just to convey our sensaBons and most terrible past to such a peak of terror and madness. The scholar of the poem wants something and the opposite at the same Bme since he is willing to remember Lenore and at the same forget her. Somehow, he feels pleasure of Lenore’s absence, though he likes suﬀering with this constant remembrance. Once the raven appears, he starts feeling worse thanks to this creature and his just-learned word “nevermore.” Obviously, the raven is an irraBonal creature which only says “nevermore” maybe because someone has taught it. Anyhow, this word is perfect for the gothic atmosphere Poe pretends to give, since the raven does dig up what the scholar hides: the pity for having lost his beloved Lenore. 76 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 When talking about formal aspects, we can say that this long poem is composed by eighteen stanzas of six lines each. The rhythmic paRern is constantly the trochaic octameter: / _ / Once u-pon _ / _ / _ a mid-night drea-ry AlliteraBon of sounds like /d/ in “doubBng dreaming dreams;” /w/: “while I pondered weak and weary.” Poe also uses onomatopoeia when using words like “rapping” which stems for “knocking.” Usage of constant repeBBons as the refrain of the poem: “nevermore” (x11) or “nothing more” (x6). Poe even uses internal rhymes like in its very ﬁrst line “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary.” Importance of the self since the poem is absolutely (not implicit, though) about himself. There is also a constant emphasis on gothic elements like melancholy, pity, sadness, darkness, irraBonality, etc. 12.2.5. Edgar Allan Poe’s short gothic stories Dark experiences, sombre landscapes and serious crimes are some of the features which can be found in Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories. This choice of gothic experience has something to do with what Poe understood by the dark side of mankind. Likewise, Poe’s short gothic stories were absolutely premeditated and elaborated through a method or analysis inspired by the eﬀect and emoBonal responses he expected from readers. For this, the writer involves readers into mysterious and horrible crimes commiRed not by creatures, but by human-beings. Indeed, when reading gothic stories like the Tall-Tale Heart, readers feel an appreciable uncertainty since anything is implicit, you have to guess. Plenty symbols will also be found in these stories; symbols full of deathly meanings and symbols. Typically, and as it has been said throughout the study of Edgar Allan Poe, the vicBm of this crimes is a preRy woman. It is uncertain if what characters long is desire or reality of killing 77 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 someone. This excitement becomes really interesBng and aRracBve so that we can see the dark side of ourselves. Madness and mental break-downs are constantly present along the previously menBoned psychopathic desires. Many of these beak-downs will be caused, among several reasons, due to the isolaBon of the individual. About-to-die women as well as the memory of a dead woman, e.g. Ligeia (1838) are some of the most typical and developed topics of every story. Sexual perversions such as necrophilia do cause a great impact on readers; likewise, disgusBng feeling for women. Claustrophobia as a result of imprisonment caused by these gothic stories. Readers reach such peak of claustrophobia due to the fear and discomfort they feel when imaging Poe’s plots. This claustrophobia deals directly with the selngs and remoteness of these places. For instance, in the House of Usher, we cannot know where the selng is, but we certainly know that it is out urbanisaBons like New York, London, Rome, etc. This lack of localisaBon creates a sense of gloom in a dark atmosphere. Nevertheless, this convenBonal glitch is raised thanks the psychological death concept provided by Edgar Allan Poe. Everything that is desired by anyone, all the traumas from the past with shocking results are saved in the subconscious; things which really scare people. The key for some stories is the exploraBon of our subconscious, of everything apparently forbidden and deﬁnitely repressed. Some criBcs believe that his gothic tales resemble his poliBcal vision of the United States. Poe sees himself as an outcast who does not ﬁt in this world. By his mad characters he may be making references to the crazy and irraBonal poliBcs of the époque. The concept of blackness deals with the Devil as well as the lies of the behaviour of the 19th Century Americans. These Americans were seen as criminals who sBll pracBced such an old acBvity as slavery. This is just a theory, though it is true that he does explore the world and concepBon of evilness within ourselves. Somehow, Poe relates this madness and evilness of American ciBzens and, generally speaking, to the human-beings. He felt that readers are fascinated by death and crime. SomeBmes, things which does not seem to be implicit, they truly are. It is the absence what actually scare us and not present facts. Poe could even be the precursor of psycho-analysis, which was lately developed by Sigmund Freud. The Fall of the House of Usher (1839) Gloom and mystery given by the house of a family whose members were murdered and driven to madness. An unnamed narrator approaches the house of Usher on a “dull, dark, and soundless day.” This house—the estate of his boyhood friend, Roderick Usher—is gloomy and mysterious. The narrator observes that the house seems to have absorbed an evil and diseased atmosphere from the decaying trees and murky ponds around it. He notes that although the house is decaying 78 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 in places—individual stones are disintegraBng, for example—the structure itself is fairly solid. There is only a small crack from the roof to the ground in the front of the building. He has come to the house because his friend Roderick sent him a leRer earnestly requesBng his company. Roderick wrote that he was feeling physically and emoBonally ill, so the narrator is rushing to his assistance. The narrator menBons that the Usher family, though an ancient clan, has never ﬂourished. Only one member of the Usher family has survived from generaBon to generaBon, thereby forming a direct line of descent without any outside branches. The Usher family has become so idenBﬁed with its estate that the peasantry confuses the inhabitants with their home. The narrator ﬁnds the inside of the house just as spooky as the outside. He makes his way through the long passages to the room where Roderick is waiBng. He notes that Roderick is paler and less energeBc than he once was. Roderick tells the narrator that he suﬀers from nerves and fear and that his senses are heightened. The narrator also notes that Roderick seems afraid of his own house. Roderick’s sister, Madeline, has taken ill with a mysterious sickness—perhaps catalepsy, the loss of control of one’s limbs—that the doctors cannot reverse. The narrator spends several days trying to cheer up Roderick. He listens to Roderick play the guitar and make up words for his songs, and he reads him stories, but he cannot liO Roderick’s spirit. Soon, Roderick posits his theory that the house itself is unhealthy, just as the narrator supposes at the beginning of the story. Madeline soon dies, and Roderick decides to bury her temporarily in the tombs below the house. He wants to keep her in the house because he fears that the doctors might dig up her body for scienBﬁc examinaBon, since her disease was so strange to them. The narrator helps Roderick put the body in the tomb, and he notes that Madeline has rosy cheeks, as some do aOer death. The narrator also realises suddenly that Roderick and Madeline were twins. Over the next few days, Roderick becomes even more uneasy. One night, the narrator cannot sleep either. Roderick knocks on his door, apparently hysterical. He leads the narrator to the window, from which they see a bright-looking gas surrounding the house. The narrator tells Roderick that the gas is a natural phenomenon, not altogether uncommon. The narrator decides to read to Roderick in order to pass the night away. He reads “Mad Trist” by Sir Launcelot Canning, a medieval romance. As he reads, he hears noises that correspond to the descripBons in the story. At ﬁrst, he ignores these sounds as the vagaries of his imaginaBon. Soon, however, they become more disBnct and he can no longer ignore them. He also noBces that Roderick has slumped over in his chair and is muRering to himself. The narrator approaches Roderick and listens to what he is saying. Roderick reveals that he has been hearing these sounds for days, and believes that they have buried Madeline alive and that she is trying to escape. He yells that she is standing behind the door. The wind blows open the door and conﬁrms Roderick’s 79 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 fears: Madeline stands in white robes bloodied from her struggle. She aRacks Roderick as the life drains from her, and he dies of fear. The narrator ﬂees the house. As he escapes, the enBre house cracks along the break in the frame and crumbles to the ground. The “house” cannot be seen only as a house but as a haunted house full of terror and fears. Uncertainty of its locaBon as well, since readers cannot know where the house is located. Ambiguity of the moBvaBon of the narrator destroys the boundary between reality and fantasy. Readers can feel a sense of claustrophobia in that place since the narrator and the character cannot move freely anywhere. The House of Usher can even be appreciated as a character, so as an alive being. It controls the faith and lives of the inhabitants. The House is also a geneBc family member, since it seems to be alive. The House itself does provide psychological eﬀect on inhabitants’ minds. They cannot develop themselves as individuals since they seem to share the same faith. There are many ways to interpret the end of The House of Usher: ﬁrstly, madness, disease and evilness are the main interpretaBons all the characters receive in this story. Incest is the best way of surviving in the House of Usher. Madness means a split in personality, so a kind of Doppelgänger in Roderick. Indeed, readers usually wonder themselves whether Roderick actually has a sister or not. Perhaps she did not exist and she is the other side of himself. However, it is diﬃcult to set one or another as the evil one because the narrator of the story is not reliable at all. He has never seen her unBl she appears on her way back from the coﬃn, from death. Maybe these “twins” are two sides of a same person or in reality they truly are two diﬀerent person. Some criBcs opt for being Roderick the one who destroys his twin intenBonally in order to avoid sexual contact with her. Incest, feelings of guilt as the main causes of this crime. Conﬂict between brother and sister when surviving in the House of Usher. Both of them are sick somehow: Roderick is mentally sick whereas Madeline is physically sick. The death of one is a condiBon for the other’s death. When one of them passes away, consequently the other one dies as well. Ligeia (1838) An unnamed narrator opens the story by claiming not to remember the circumstances in which he met his beloved, the lady Ligeia. Although he ﬁxates on her rare learning, her unusual beauty, and her love of language, the narrator cannot speciﬁcally recall how Ligeia became his love object. He does speculate, however, that he ﬁrst encountered her in Germany, where her family lived in an ancient city on the Rhine. He is conﬁdent that Ligeia spoke frequently about her family, but he does not believe he ever knew her last name. 80 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 The narrator counteracts this ignorance of Ligeia’s origins with a faithful memory of her person. According to the narrator, Ligeia is tall, slender, and, in her later days, emaciated. She treads lightly, moving like a shadow. Though ﬁercely beauBful, Ligeia does not conform to a tradiBonal mold of beauty: the narrator idenBﬁes a “strangeness” in her features. Ligeia’s most disBncBve feature is her hair—black as a raven and naturally curly. Among her physical features, only her brilliant black eyes rival her hair. They conceal the great knowledge and understanding Ligeia possesses and shares with the narrator. The narrator relishes his memory of her beauty but loves her learned mind even more passionately. She has guided him, during the early years of their marriage, through the chaoBc world of his metaphysical studies. As Bme passes, Ligeia becomes mysteriously ill. On the day of her death, she begs the narrator to read a poem she has composed about the natural tragedy of life. The poem describes a theatre where angels have gathered to watch the mysterious acBons of mimes, which are controlled by formless, outside presences. Suddenly, amid the drama, a creature intrudes and feeds on the mimes. With the fall of the curtain, the angels reveal that the tragedy is enBtled “Man,” and the hero is the creature, the Conqueror Worm. With the close of the poem, Ligeia shrieks a prayer about the unfairness of the tragedy and dies. Devastated by Ligeia’s death, the narrator moves to England and purchases an abbey. He soon marries again, this Bme to the fair, blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine. The narrator’s bridal chamber is a Gothic masterpiece, which includes a large window that lets in ghastly rays, a vaulted ceiling, various Eastern knickknacks, and large gold tapestries that hang from the walls. In this bridal chamber, the narrator and Lady Rowena spend the ﬁrst month of their marriage. During that period, the narrator realises that Rowena does not love him. At the beginning of the second month, Lady Rowena, like Ligeia, becomes mysteriously ill. Although she recovers temporarily, she reveals a hypersensiBvity to sounds and an unexplained fear of the gold tapestries, which she fears are alive. Lady Rowena’s health takes a turn for the worse, and the narrator fears that her death is imminent. Silng by her bed, he watches her drink a glass of wine, into which mysteriously fall, according to the narrator, three or four large drops of a red ﬂuid. The narrator is unsure of his observaBons because he has recently smoked opium, to which he has become addicted during his second marriage. Three days later, Rowena dies, and on the fourth day, the narrator sits alone with her corpse but cannot keep his mind from the memories of Ligeia. Later that night, the narrator wakes to moans from Rowena’s deathbed, and he discovers that a Bnge of colour has returned to Rowena’s face. Rowena sBll lives. A second round of moans ensues, and the body reveals more colour. However, the ﬂash of life is brief, and Rowena’s body becomes icy cold again. 81 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Faced again with memories of Ligeia, the narrator, horriﬁed, encounters another reawakening of the corpse. This Bme, however, the corpse moves from its deathbed and advances, shrouded, into the middle of the apartment. Aghast, the narrator mysteriously quesBons the idenBty of the corpse. Though he feels it must be the lady Rowena, he noBces the body has grown taller. Glancing from her feet to her head, the narrator discovers raven-black hair emerging from behind the shroud—it is the lady Ligeia standing in the bridal chamber. Three main topics: guilt of a beau=ful woman, return from death and possibility of drug addic=on. Ligeia is basically a love story, a love beyond death. The unnamed narrator has two obstacles when loving Ligeia: the death of Life and the return of his second wife. It is a lovegrotesque story. She is the obsession of the narrator’s mind so that the transformaBon of Rowena’s body could be explained by that. Two models of femininity related to two diﬀerent philosophical tradiBons: ﬁrstly, Ligeia as a typical German woman: brow haired and tan. Hence, she represents eroBc, mysBcal and supernatural features. On the other hand, Rowena is from the north of Europe, so she is blonde and has blue eyes. She represents empiricism, coldness and deﬁnitely all the opposite to Ligeia. Perhaps it is this opposiBon what makes Ligeia impossibly be subsBtuted. This supernatural events are explained by some criBcs as a delusion caused by an extreme consumpBon of opium. Thanks to this consumpBon, Ligeia’s recovery tends to be something rather easy. This obsession with Ligeia’s hair and eyes instead of his soul and personality deals with feBchism. Gothic dimension makes the narrator reduce Ligeia’s body in the parts he was so obsessed of. Many criBcs and scholars believe that what survives in herself is only her body, so that is the reason why she does not returns completely, just physically. William Wilson (1839) An unnamed narrator announces that his real name shall remain a mystery, for he wishes to preserve the purity of the page before him. Instead, the narrator asks that we know him as “William Wilson” throughout the tale of misery and crime that he is about to tell. He explains that this tale will explain his sudden and complete turn to evil. The narrator believes that he has inherited an excitable temperament from his otherwise dullminded parents. As a young student, he escapes from this environment, and his early memories concern a large Elizabethan house in England where he aRended school. He describes the school as a Gothic prison, with a spiked iron gate that has creaky hinges. The principal, who also acts as the pastor of the church, enforces the severe rules of the school. 82 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Despite the severity of his surroundings, the narrator emerges as a colourful student and feels a certain superiority to his classmates, with the excepBon of one student. According to the narrator, this student bears exactly the same name: William Wilson. This second William Wilson interferes with the narrator’s mastery over his classmates, thereby becoming for the narrator an object of fear and compeBBon. This rivalry becomes only more pronounced for the narrator when he learns that they joined the school on the same day and that, because of the two William Wilsons’ idenBcal builds and styles of dress, many older students believe they are brothers. The narrator’s rival even imitates his mode of speaking, except he can never raise his voice above a whisper. Nevertheless, the narrator rejects any connecBon between him and his rival. Despite this antagonism, though, the narrator remains on speaking terms with his compeBtor and admits, at ﬁrst, to being unable to hate him. The relaBonship soon deteriorates, however, and a violent altercaBon ensues between the two William Wilsons. The scuﬄe evokes in the narrator memories of his infancy, which makes him grow only more obsessed with William Wilson. On a night not long aOer the scuﬄe, the narrator sneaks into his rival’s bedroom to play a pracBcal joke. Shining the light from his lamp on his rival’s face, the narrator believes he sees a diﬀerent William Wilson, a face unique to the darkness. Terriﬁed by the facial transformaBon he imagines, the narrator rushes from the room. AOer several months, the narrator becomes a student at another school, Eton, and aRempts to leave behind memories of the other William Wilson. He abuses alcohol in this eﬀort to forget the past, and he recalls one debaucherous party in parBcular. In the midst of the drunken revelry, a servant announces the presence of a mysterious guest calling for the aRenBon of the narrator. Excited and intoxicated, the narrator rushes to the vesBbule, only to discover a youth of his same size and dress. The faintness of the light prevents the narrator from discerning the visitor’s face. Grabbing the narrator’s arm, the guest whispers “William Wilson” in the narrator’s ear and quickly vanishes. Changing schools again, the narrator moves to Oxford, where he picks up the vice of gambling. Skilled at this vice, the narrator chooses weak-minded classmates on whom to prey for extravagant monetary gain. AOer two years at Oxford, the narrator meets a young nobleman named Glendinning and makes him his next gambling target. Allowing him to win at ﬁrst, the narrator lures him with the prospect of more success to a large party he has arranged. At this party, Glendinning plays exactly as the narrator expects and quickly amasses large debts. At the moment that he quadruples his debt, Glendinning becomes ghastly pale, and the narrator realises his triumph. Suddenly, however, a stranger intrudes on the party with a rush that exBnguishes all the candles in the room. He reveals the narrator to be a scam arBst and promptly retreats. The 83 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 announcement ruins the narrator, forcing his departure not only from Oxford, but also from Britain. SeRling at last in Rome, the narrator aRends a masquerade ball in the palace of the duke Di Broglio. The narrator secretly desires the wife of the duke, who has informed him of the costume she will be wearing. As he searches for her, the narrator feels a light hand on his arm and hears a whisper in his ear: “William Wilson.” The whisperer wears the same costume as the narrator, a Spanish cloak with a black silk mask. Drawn into a side room, the narrator becomes enraged, drawing his sword and stabbing his rival. To the narrator’s horror, the layout of the room mysteriously changes, and a mirror replaces the body of his antagonist. He stares into the mirror to ﬁnd his own body stabbed and bleeding, and he hears his rival speak as though with his own voice: “In me didst thou exist—and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how uRerly thou hast murdered thyself.” Once again, we will ﬁnd the gothic moBf of the Doppelgänger with William Willson’s split of personality into two diﬀerent people. He focuses his ﬁcBon in the alter-ego, the part of ourselves that we try to hide in order to do mischievous acBons. It cannot be repressed, it is stronger than you. Edgar Allan Poe reﬂects this psychological condiBon in order to show the manifestaBon of two bodies that are actually just one. ManifestaBon of personality and desire that makes William Willson when thinking there is another person like him. Body and mind cannot be separated anyway. Deﬁnitely, they are rivals and try to kill one the other, though it is actually only one who kills himself. William Wilson cannot scape from his double nor can we. He is aRracBve in the sense of making the other one listen to what he is willing to do. This story also represents insanity falling into madness. The Masque of the Red Death (1842) A disease known as the Red Death plagues the ﬁcBonal country where this tale is set, and it causes its vicBms to die quickly and gruesomely. Even though this disease is spreading rampantly, the prince, Prospero, feels happy and hopeful. He decides to lock the gates of his palace in order to fend oﬀ the plague, ignoring the illness ravaging the land. AOer several months, he throws a fancy masquerade ball. For this celebraBon, he decorates the rooms of his house in single colours. The easternmost room is decorated in blue, with blue stained-glass windows. The next room is purple with the same stained-glass window paRern. The rooms conBnue westward, according to this design, in the following colour arrangement: green, orange, white, and violet. The seventh room is black, with red windows. Also in this room stands an ebony clock. When the clock rings each hour, its sound is so loud and distracBng that everyone stops talking and the orchestra stops playing. 84 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 When the clock is not sounding, though, the rooms are so beauBful and strange that they seem to be ﬁlled with dreams, swirling among the revellers. Most guests, however, avoid the ﬁnal, blackand-red room because it contains both the clock and an ominous ambience. At midnight, a new guest appears, dressed more ghoulishly than his counterparts. His mask looks like the face of a corpse, his garments resemble a funeral shroud, and his face reveals spots of blood suggesBng that he is a vicBm of the Red Death. Prospero becomes angry that someone with so liRle humour and levity would join his party. The other guests, however, are so afraid of this masked man that they fail to prevent him from walking through each room. Prospero ﬁnally catches up to the new guest in the black-and-red room. As soon as he confronts the ﬁgure, Prospero dies. When other party-goers enter the room to aRack the cloaked man, they ﬁnd that there is nobody beneath the costume. Everyone then dies, for the Red Death has inﬁltrated the castle. “Darkness and Decay and the Red Death” have at last triumphed. Allegory between life and death from Edgar Allan Poe’s point of view. Men are powerless against death and everyone dies despite their richness. Death is represented with the red colour in the case of the room. This red colour can be related to 19th century illnesses like tuberculosis, as Virginia Poe’s death; cholera is another illness which is related to the red colour. Selﬁshness, and rudeness of the protagonist become really important points as well. The Masque of the Red Death is an aestheBc fable. Edgar Allan Poe was fascinated by the relaBonship between art and nature since nature is the natural circle of death and life, which is willed is to be modiﬁed by the protagonist. He wants to control his art and life in order to avoid his own death for a while. The arBst strikes to create beauty by transforming material reality. Seven interconnected rooms highly baroque represent one stage in life: birth in blue and in the East, where the sun rises; death in red and set in the western room, where the sun sets. Unfortunately, the arBst fails when escaping from death when at the end he meets his desBny. Something important to take into account is that Poe never makes allusion to religion or God. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 BLUE PURPLE GREEN ORANGE WHITE VIOLET SCARLET AND BLACK birth royalty growth of youth strength and maturity purity wisdom death 85 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 13: American Romance: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) and Herman Melville (1818-91) 13.1. Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Scarlet LeNer 13.1.1. Life of the author Born on July 4, 1804, in Salem MassachuseRs, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s life was steeped in the Puritan legacy. An early ancestor, William Hathorne, ﬁrst emigrated from England to America in 1630 and seRled in Salem, MassachuseRs, where he became a judge known for his harsh sentencing. William’s son, John Hathorne, was one of three judges during the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690s. Nathaniel later added a “w” to his name to distance himself from this side of the family. Nathaniel was the only son of Nathaniel and Elizabeth Clark Hathorne (Manning). His father, a sea captain, died in 1808 of yellow fever while at sea. The family was leO with meager ﬁnancial support and moved in with Elizabeth’s wealthy brothers. A leg injury at an early age leO Nathaniel immobile for a several months during which Bme he developed a voracious appeBte for reading and set his sights on becoming a writer. With the aid of his wealthy uncles, young Hawthorne aRended Bowdoin College from 1821 to 1825. There he met and befriended Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and future president Franklin Pierce. By his own admission, he was a negligent student with liRle appeBte for study. While aRending college, Nathaniel Hawthorne missed his mother and two sisters terribly and upon graduaBon, returned home for a 12-year stay. During this Bme, he began to write with purpose and soon found his “voice” self-publishing several stories, among them The Hollow of the Three Hills and An Old Woman’s Tale. By 1832, he had wriRen My Kinsman, Major Molineux and Roger Malvin’s Burial, two of his greatest tales and in 1837, Twice Told Tales. Though his wriBng brought him some notoriety, it didn’t provide a dependable income and for a Bme he worked for the Boston Custom House weighing and gaging salt and coal. Nathaniel Hawthorne ended his self-imposed seclusion at home about the same Bme he met Sophia Peabody, a painter, illustrator, and transcendentalist. During their courtship, Hawthorne spent some Bme at the Brook Farm community where he got to know Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. He didn’t ﬁnd transcendentalism to his favour but living in the commune allowed him to save money for his impending marriage to Sophia. AOer a long courtship, parBally 86 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 prolonged by Sophia’s poor health, the couple were married on July 9, 1842. They quickly seRled in Concord, MassachuseRs, and rented Old Manse, owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1844, their ﬁrst of three children was born. With mounBng debt and a growing family, Hawthorne moved to Salem. A life-long Democrat, poliBcal connecBons helped him land a job as surveyor in the Salem Custom House in 1846, providing his family some needed ﬁnancial security. However, when Whig President Zachary Taylor was elected, Hawthorne lost his appointment to poliBcal favouriBsm. The dismissal turned into a blessing giving him Bme to write his masterpiece, The Scarlet LeRer, the story of two lovers who clashed with Puritan moral law. The book was one of the ﬁrst mass-produced publicaBons in the United States and its wide distribuBon made Hawthorne famous. Never feeling comfortable living in Salem, Nathaniel Hawthorne was determined to take his family out of the town’s Puritan trappings. They moved to Red House in Lenox, MassachuseRs, where he formed a close friendship with Moby-Dick author Herman Melville. During this Bme, Hawthorne enjoyed his most producBve period as a writer publishing The House of the Seven Gables, Blithedale Romance and Tanglewood Tales. During the 1852 elecBon, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote a campaign biography for his college friend Franklin Pierce. When Pierce was elected president, he appointed Hawthorne an American Consul to Britain as a reward. The Hawthorne’s stayed in England from 1853-1857. This period served as inspiraBon for Hawthorne’s novel Our Old Home. AOer serving as consul, Nathaniel Hawthorne took his family on an extended vacaBon to Italy and then back to England. In 1860, he ﬁnished his last novel The Marble Faun. That same year Hawthorne moved his family back to the United States and took permanent residence at The Wayside in Concord, MassachuseRs. AOer 1860, it was becoming apparent that Hawthorne was moving past his prime. Striving to rekindle his earlier producBvity, he found liRle success. DraOs were mostly incoherent and leO unﬁnished. Some even showed signs of psychic regression. His health began to fail and he seemed to age considerably, hair turning white and experiencing slowness of thought. For months, he refused to seek medical help and died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth New Hampshire. 13.1.2 Nathaniel Hawthorne as writer Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered one of the unquesBonable ﬁgures of the American Renaissance along Herman Melville and Edgar Allan Poe. His works have become literary points of study for long due to their high complexity. Unlike many other writers, Hawthorne could enjoy his incomes when selling out novels thanks to the success he had among American readers. 87 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 These romances, like The Scarlet Le<er, are absolutely full of irony, symbols and, hence, ambiguity which does lead to speculaBons. It means that there is not a single way of interpreBng Hawthorne’s romances, though they seem to be rather convenBonal. When reading The Scarlet Le<er, you may realise that Hawthorne is a man who defends woman rights (to a short extent) and encourages them to do what they feel is right. Hawthorne was absolutely against senBmental literature running at his Bme and curiously, against literature wriRen by women. The writer claims that he writes sophisBcated literature, so his style will be focus on looking for arBsBc quality: grammaBcally complex structures, literary devices, experimentaBon with techniques and use of allegories and symbols. Even though, he highlights the need of economy in wriBng, it means avoiding superﬂuous descripBons and unnecessary stuﬀ. In addiBon, Hawthorne tried to show his intellectuality by adding many old-fashioned words. Puritan America as the main framework of his romances certainly because of his ancestors and the interesBng role Puritans played in American history. Therefore, the use of old-fashioned words is jusBﬁed by his adaptaBon to the historic framework. The choice of American history and Puritanism is accompanied by the religious and moral problems as the main blocks of his literature. Nevertheless, it is unknown whether Hawthorne was truly religious or not. CriBcs believe that he was interest in religion from an intellectual point of view. In fact, he did not want to be related to this religious community due to the crimes his ancestor William Hathorne. This self righteousness and hard-work Puritans had did admire Nathaniel Hawthorne and these are one of the principles which raised the American naBon. Nonetheless, he ﬁnds inhuman the lack of mercy they had since Puritans punished and humiliated women (and men) when commilng adultery ﬁrst by sentencing them to death and lately by making them carrying a scarlet leRer A on their chest. His admiraBon to Puritanism comes with the idea of predes=na=on treated previously in early units. It means that we are not safe just by being ChrisBans, since God has chosen who will ascend to Heaven and who will not before being born. Hawthorne considers that human nature is ambiguous so that people could be both good and bad. Obsession of sin in everyday life is another topic which characterises Puritan colonisers. He thinks that if someone pretends not to commit certain sin, this person is likely to end up doing it. He criBcises evil as part of our lives, so we should not be worry about ascending to Heaven or not because everyone tends to sin anyway. Despite his advice of not gelng obsessed with the past, Hawthorne ﬁnally gets. Symbolism as his main weapon. It can be though that when reading everything is explicit. However, Hawthorne makes us change our thinking and adds symbols everywhere and, indeed, they can be interpreted in lots of ways. Allegory is pracBcally an extended metaphor which is also found in Hawthorne romances. Both can be used together and that is what Hawthorne does in 88 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 romances like The Scarlet Le<er. NoBce that allegory is oOen used in the Bible and so is in this last menBoned romance, for instance. This kind of stories actually have a moral message, e.g. you can be diﬀerent and create your own life regardless what other people think. Allegories were also used by Puritans to create this supersBBous atmosphere with subversive messages. Secular allegories to give voice to his rejecBon of Puritan communiBes. There can be goodness in a sinner despite Puritan thinking, though it does not mean someone has commiRed certain sin. 13.1.3. The American Romance and Hawthorne’s deﬁni=on of Romance What is a romance and what does this term designate? Generally speaking, romances are stories about legendary heroes which embraces the idealisaBon of the past and life in the countryside as well as exciBng events and adventures. During the 19th Century, the predominant form of wriBng was novel. Even though, Nathaniel Hawthorne considered his romances as something diﬀerent. Through his prefaces and essays on theory of ﬁcBon, Hawthorne tells the way a novel must be wriRen and the way to avoid certain topics and forms from the colonial America and Europe. In “The Custom House” from The Scarlet Le<er, Hawthorne provides the following deﬁniBon of romance: If the imaginative faculty refused to act at such an hour, it might well be deemed a hopeless case.
Moonlight, in a familiar room, falling so white upon the carpet, and showcasing all its figures so distinctly, -- making every object so minute visible, yet so unlike a morning or noontide visibility, -- is a medium the most suitable for a romance- writer to get acquainted with his illusive guests. There is the little domestic scenery of the well-known apartment; the chairs with each its separate individuality; the centre- table, sustaining a work-basket, a volume or two, and an extinguished lamp; the sofa; the picture on the wall,--all these details, so completely seen, are so spiritualized by the unusual light, that they seem to lose their actual substance, and become things of the intellect.
Nothing is too small or too trifling to undergo this change, and acquire dignity thereby. A child's shoe; the doll, seated in her little wicker carriage; the hobby-horse,-- whatever, in a word, has been used or played with, during the day, is now invested with a quality of strangeness and remoteness, though still almost as vividly present as by daylight. Thus, therefore, the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other. Ghosts might enter here, without affrighting us. It would be too much in keeping with the scene to excite surprise, were we to look about us and discover a form beloved, but gone hence, now sitting quietly in a streak of this magic moonshine, with an aspect that would make us doubt whether it had returned from afar, or had never once stirred from our fireside.
The best moment for wriBng is supposedly under the eﬀect of moonlight. During the day, people only get facts, but it is at night (under the eﬀect of moonlight) when mysterious and dark 89 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 elements of mankind are found. Hawthorne claimed that irraBonality and hidden personaliBes can change at night. Things can be objects of intellect. Hence, human nature’s dark side is found under the eﬀect of moonlight, when a combinaBon between reality and imaginaBon meets. He is actually claiming freedom from the tradiBonal novel which will be found throughout the 19th century in Europe. This vision of romance could be placed in between a fairy land and the real world. Hawthorne does ﬁnd a certain freedom in wriBng romances since he can use as many symbols as he likes. In his prefaces, Nathaniel Hawthorne shows how and why he writes this speciﬁc ﬁcBon and what he wants to symbolise. For instance, in The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne deﬁnes the past as something magical and mysBc. This story is about ancestral guilts; guilts as our own ancestors and their faults which are unconsciously repeated and inherited by their procedures. In colonial America, accumulaBon of land and wealth could also be considered a crime, so crimes, perversiBes and sins of our ancestors are present in their heirs. 13.1.4. The Scarlet LeNer (1850) a. Introduc=on to The Scarlet LeNer The Scarlet Le<er is a romanBc story set in the colonial America of the 1630s in Boston. The plot is developed as the consequences of adultery in the life of four characters: Arthur Dimmesdale, Hester, Pearl and Chillingworth. It is a struggle of survival and individualism aOer commilng the sin which costed Hester her shame. Nevertheless, she faces her sin and tries to live and endure the consequences of her adultery. Conﬂict between love and the laws of men in a Puritan and colonial America. It is impressive how a private maRer as adultery does not only aﬀect the member of the “crime,” but the whole community. Nathaniel Hawthorne uses the dark past of North-America and the discussion of a sexual taboo like it was adultery, something considered unmoral now and then. Nathaniel Hawthorne is shown sympatheBc for Hester, though she is adulterous and he was completely against it. He is only using an American historical Bme in order to frame or talk about a taboo topic such as adultery. This story and its themes can absolutely be applied to any place in the world despite its locaBon. In this case, adultery is universally considered forbidden and badly appreciated. Therefore, Hawthorne is a kind of Shakespearean follower. In fact, The Scarlet Le<er is a story based on a manuscript Hawthorne found in a custom house in Salem. Actually, he wrote the romance aOer being ﬁred from the custom house he started to work at. This manuscript was found in Salem with a cloth patch which formed a scarlet A. Thanks 90 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 to this ﬁcBonal manuscript, the writer will be impulsed to wriBng the famous romance known as The Scarlet Le<er. It could be said that he calls for his Puritan roots, whose ancestors cannot abandon his thoughts. Hawthorne had not clear whether he was warning us about these crimes or rather calling for his ancestors. b. Summary of the plot The Scarlet LeRer opens with a long preamble about how the book came to be wriRen. The nameless narrator was the surveyor of the customhouse in Salem, MassachuseRs. In the customhouse’s alc, he discovered a number of documents, among them a manuscript that was bundled with a scarlet, gold-embroidered patch of cloth in the shape of an “A.” The manuscript, the work of a past surveyor, detailed events that occurred some two hundred years before the narrator’s Bme. When the narrator lost his customs post, he decided to write a ﬁcBonal account of the events recorded in the manuscript. The Scarlet LeRer is the ﬁnal product. The story begins in seventeenth-century Boston, then a Puritan seRlement. A young woman, Hester Prynne, is led from the town prison with her infant daughter, Pearl, in her arms and the scarlet leRer “A” on her breast. A man in the crowd tells an elderly onlooker that Hester is being punished for adultery. Hester’s husband, a scholar much older than she is, sent her ahead to America, but he never arrived in Boston. The consensus is that he has been lost at sea. While waiBng for her husband, Hester has apparently had an aﬀair, as she has given birth to a child. She will not reveal her lover’s idenBty, however, and the scarlet leRer, along with her public shaming, is her punishment for her sin and her secrecy. On this day Hester is led to the town scaﬀold and harangued by the town fathers, but she again refuses to idenBfy her child’s father. The elderly onlooker is Hester’s missing husband, who is now pracBcing medicine and calling himself Roger Chillingworth. He seRles in Boston, intent on revenge. He reveals his true idenBty to no one but Hester, whom he has sworn to secrecy. Several years pass. Hester supports herself by working as a seamstress, and Pearl grows into a wilful, impish child. Shunned by the community, they live in a small coRage on the outskirts of Boston. Community oﬃcials aRempt to take Pearl away from Hester, but, with the help of Arthur Dimmesdale, a young and eloquent minister, the mother and daughter manage to stay together. Dimmesdale, however, appears to be wasBng away and suﬀers from mysterious heart trouble, seemingly caused by psychological distress. 91 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Chillingworth aRaches himself to the ailing minister and eventually moves in with him so that he can provide his paBent with round-the-clock care. Chillingworth also suspects that there may be a connecBon between the minister’s torments and Hester’s secret, and he begins to test Dimmesdale to see what he can learn. One aOernoon, while the minister sleeps, Chillingworth discovers a mark on the man’s breast (the details of which are kept from the reader), which convinces him that his suspicions are correct. Dimmesdale’s psychological anguish deepens, and he invents new tortures for himself. In the meanBme, Hester’s charitable deeds and quiet humility have earned her a reprieve from the scorn of the community. One night, when Pearl is about seven years old, she and her mother are returning home from a visit to a deathbed when they encounter Dimmesdale atop the town scaﬀold, trying to punish himself for his sins. Hester and Pearl join him, and the three link hands. Dimmesdale refuses Pearl’s request that he acknowledge her publicly the next day, and a meteor marks a dull red “A” in the night sky. Hester can see that the minister’s condiBon is worsening, and she resolves to intervene. She goes to Chillingworth and asks him to stop adding to Dimmesdale’s self-torment. Chillingworth refuses. Hester arranges an encounter with Dimmesdale in the forest because she is aware that Chillingworth has probably guessed that she plans to reveal his idenBty to Dimmesdale. The former lovers decide to ﬂee to Europe, where they can live with Pearl as a family. They will take a ship sailing from Boston in four days. Both feel a sense of release, and Hester removes her scarlet leRer and lets down her hair. Pearl, playing nearby, does not recognise her mother without the leRer. The day before the ship is to sail, the townspeople gather for a holiday and Dimmesdale preaches his most eloquent sermon ever. Meanwhile, Hester has learned that Chillingworth knows of their plan and has booked passage on the same ship. Dimmesdale, leaving the church aOer his sermon, sees Hester and Pearl standing before the town scaﬀold. He impulsively mounts the scaﬀold with his lover and his daughter, and confesses publicly, exposing a scarlet leRer seared into the ﬂesh of his chest. He falls dead, as Pearl kisses him. Frustrated in his revenge, Chillingworth dies a year later. Hester and Pearl leave Boston, and no one knows what has happened to them. Many years later, Hester returns alone, sBll wearing the scarlet leRer, to live in her old coRage and resume her charitable work. She receives occasional leRers from Pearl, who has married a European aristocrat and established a family of her own. When Hester dies, she is buried next to Dimmesdale. The two share a single tombstone, which bears a scarlet “A.” 92 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 c. Main topics in The Scarlet LeNer Adultery Certainly, Puritan communiBes in North-America used to humiliate and condemn those adulterous members by making them wearing the leRer A (for “adultery”) on their chest. For Puritans, this sin, commonly recognised as a private maRer, becomes completely public. The scarlet A Hester is obliged to wear on is meant to remind her of her sBgma and terrible crime commiRed by herself and the unknown Pearl’s father. In the Bible, adultery was a terrible crime which ended up in death. Puritans understood that sexual transgression is a violaBon of the covenant with God and his members. This is the reason why it turns into a public maRer. Eternal salvaBon could only be ensured if the whole Puritan community culprits the covenant. Hence, there are three agreements violated in The Scarlet Le<er: the covenant with God, the contract with community and its members and the insBtuBon of marriage. Puritans did believe they were creaBng the Kingdom of God, so every law stablished in the Bible should be respected. Hester was ﬁrstly unfaithful with her husband in England, secondly with God and ﬁnally with the Puritan community of Boston. Both God and her husband must be absolutely respected, so every Bme she gets away this submission, she must be punished. Even if her husband knew about this sin and forgives her, her community can sBll go over her sin and punish her since it is a clear disobedience to God. According to Winthrop wriBngs of the 1640s, adulterous were sentenced to death and even at John Hathorne’s Bmes (1680s) this pracBce was sBll done. However, in 1694, the Plymouth Law stablished that every woman who commiRed this sin was obliged to wear the scarlet A on. It is diﬃcult to know exactly the posiBon of the author on this maRer. Some criBcs believe that he redeﬁnes adultery as a private maRer instead of a public one. It is unnecessary punishing Hester or any woman on Earth since they will be punished by God in Heaven. It is enough suﬀering what Hester suﬀers in her heart and will be later on condemned by God at the Judgement Day. Therefore, society’s salvaBon is not in risk because of her aﬀair or sin. Consequences of sin and knowledge This stems for the original sin of Adan and Eve, when they disobeyed God by eaBng an apple from the forbidden tree of wisdom. AOer the Puritan community of Boston sentence Hester to wearing the scarlet A on, both Hester and Arthur cannot live together nor being seen during seven years. Metaphorically, Hester is expelled from Paradise aOer eaBng the forbidden apple. The 93 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 consequences of this sin are wearing a scarlet A from “adultery” and being marginated in the forest as an outcast. The diﬀerence with the original sin is that Hester recognises and accepts her sin and its consequences, whereas Arthur suﬀers privately and cannot confess what he did. Arthur Dimmesdale is not a simple man who lives in the English colonies, but a presBgious young minister who has to see his secret daughter and her lover. He internalises his sin and pain and at the very end of the romance, we can see that the scarlet leRer is found on his chest as well. Both Hester and Arthur have the knowledge of their sin in diﬀerent ways. They know that they are completely sinful. Since Arthur is a sinner, he is much beloved by his community. He is compassionated as a man and does not change his idenBty as Hester does. It is not appreciated at all but to a certain extent Arthur wants to confess his sin, but nobody believes him. The Puritan community of Boston believes that he is like Jesus Christ in the cross confessing he is a sinner as well. Anyway, nobody in Boston can guess what his sin could be. Pearl could be considered the mark of his sin. In the case of Hester, she is capable of doing something which faces her humiliaBon. She becomes a free thinker both about herself and the world in general. She can objecBvely change things out of Puritan rules. Thanks to Arthur, she keeps her child and admits that Pearl has been sent by God and not by the devil. She also realises that her love to Arthur is sent by God as well. This Puritan community from Boston does not make her a happy woman but once she is not allowed to go to church and parBcipate in other acBviBes, she is happier and more independent. Nature of evil Puritans were used to idenBfying black men as something evil. These characters discuss the idenBty of the black man who lives in the forest and strikes out sinners in order to corrupt puritans. Moreover, the black man writes the names of those sinners and mark them oﬀ. In this case, Hester represents the mark of the black man on her. Pearl is called the child of the black man and even she is obsessed with this mysterious man since she has internalised that the black man is her father. For her, the black man is not interpreted as the devil but as her father. On the other hand, it is the charismaBc young minister the one seen as the devil because he does not show aﬀecBon to Pearl. The true husband of Hester is looking for revenge by adopBng the idenBty of Robert Chillingworth and punishes Arthur by knowing that he has commiRed the famous sin in Boston with his own wife. Readers have not much idea of how this marriage was like before the adultery was commiRed. It can be guessed that Chillingworth has been mistreaBng Hester in England and send her to the colonies in order to start a new life. This character has a deformed shoulder that 94 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 can be interpreted as a psychological representaBon of his dark soul. He only has one objecBve in life: taking revenge against Hester and Dimmesdale. Once the secret is revealed out loud, Chillingworth dies as well. Both revenge and adultery are considered sins, though Hester states that revenge stems for hate, whereas adultery for love. Hester’s growth Hester’s story is not clear at all, though there are certain details that can be seen throughout the romance. This woman is very stoic and struggles to be kept alive. She works very hard as dressmaker in order to give clothes away to poor people. She wants to demonstrate that despite her sin she is both a good mother and a ChrisBan. She allows herself to be expelled from the puritan community in Boston, but she does not permit to have her child away from her. God gave her things that were taken away from her previously, so it is obvious that she will not permit that to occur again. Hester is clearly aware that she is a sinner, but she does not get depressed because of that as Dimmesdale does. It is thought that she sBll can arise to Heaven, whereas Arthur does not think so. She is not worry about what others think about her acBon; she just shows herself as she truly is. Once the Puritan community acknowledges that she is not a bad woman, they allow her to remove the A leRer from her chest. However, she does want to keep the A leRer as part of her own idenBty. The A leRer does not mean something mean for her any longer, but a lesson of recreaBng her own idenBty despite her sins. d. Unhappy ending and Hawthorne’s point of view Hester, Arthur and Pearl meet up in the woods, where Pearl complains about Arthur’s rejecBon or ignorance of being Pearl’s father. This feeling of guilt strikes back at the very end (seven years later) and it is when Arthur confesses out loud that he has commiRed THE serious sin. Moreover, he has been seen as a brilliant man who is sympatheBc with the Puritan community. It is when Hester and Arthur resume their love story aOer being separated 7 years ago. Even the environment is an important point to take into account since it is a natural place out of Boston. On the other hand, Chillingworth does know their secret, so he ﬁnds out ways of torture for them. Once they are reunited, Hester is hopeful and thinks there is an opportunity for both aOer having commiRed sin. However, life is not that easy because sin is sBll there for him. Somehow, Hawthorne seems to admire her, though it does not mean he would allow such sins, so the author opts for killing Hester’s lover at the end in a way of punishment. Hester is not selﬁsh and cares for others, something a true ChrisBan is meant to do. She works for her spiritual 95 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 puriﬁcaBon and does think she can achieve it. This romance is to a signiﬁcant extent about forgiving sinners. Hawthorne agrees there is life aOer adultery, though he cannot forgive the sin as the Puritan community does. They were ready to start a new life in Europe but the day before sailing, Arthur gives a speech to his Puritan community, and it is in this very moment when he confesses his sin. He really has diﬃculBes in saying he is the true Hester’s father. Arthur has internalised his guilt, so when he shows oﬀ his chest, ciBzens can see the same scarlet leRer Hester wore on. This is the reality, his guilt is real. As menBoned in the previous point, both Chillingworth and Arthur die aOer such confession. Chillingworth had nothing to do once he has taken revenge from Dimmesdale and Arthur has confessed his serious sin. Some criBcs have stablished that the Puritan community represents the Old Testament, where sins are seen as something unacceptable and hardly punished. In the case of Hawthorne, the writer shows a New Testament where sinners are forgiven. Hester could be studies as a kind of proto-feminist woman who aims to become a new woman, especially a councillor in Boston. Once again, the author is calling for sympathy and forgiveness aOer her sin. The Scarlet LeRer’s ending is absolutely a RomanBc ending since there is a ﬁnal and eternal reunion in Heaven for both lovers. Hester and Arthur are buried together and both tombstones have the scarlet A engraved. e. Main symbols in the romance Firstly, the scarlet leRer represents shame for the Boston community. Pearl is the consequence of adultery as well, though the A is imposed by Puritans; Pearl is the living version of that arBﬁcial leRer. Indeed, Pearl is Hester’s reason to live and ﬁght for his life and forgiveness. Pearl is a very strange and honest girl who is constantly asking strange (realisBc, though) quesBons. She lives in an adult world and so she is trying to ﬁnd out what is going on. Once the idenBty of her father is revealed, she becomes a normal girl. Puritan communiBes had a ﬁxed idea of what a symbol stems for; however, certain symbols can embrace diﬀerent meanings according to Hawthorne. For instance, the scarlet A means “adultery” for Puritans, “able” for Hester and “aristocrat” for NaBve Americans. Hence, symbols’ meaning depends on the diﬀerent communiBes’ mentality. Other symbols could be day and night: for instance, day Bme is the moment when sins are publicly punished, whereas at night the true self of humankind is found. Nature and city: the forest is the place for love and freedom where everyone can show their own idenBty. Hester’s coRage is in contact with nature (not in the forest, though). She is sBll under the jurisdicBon of Boston, though she has a certain freedom therein. 96 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Obviously, names remain a biblical and English meaning to a signiﬁcant extent. For instance, Pearl represents salvaBon; Hester stems for Esther (the Jewish queen of Persia who sacriﬁces herself in order to save her folk’s salvaBon); the last name of Hester, Prynne, stems for sin as well; Dimmesdale is divided into “dim” (weak) and “dale” (valley); Chillingworth stems for “coldness” (“chilling”). 13.2. Herman Melville (1819-91) and Moby-Dick 13.2.1. Biography Herman Melville was born in New York City on August 1, 1819, to Allan and Maria Gansevoort Melvill (Maria added the "e" to the family name following her husband's death). In the mid-1820s, young Herman fell ill to scarlet fever, and though he regained his health not long aOerward, his vision was leO permanently impaired by the illness. The family had enjoyed a prosperous life for many years due to Allan Melvill's success as a high-end importer and merchant. However, he was also borrowing heavily to ﬁnance his business interests, and aOer he moved the family upstate to Albany in a failed aRempt to branch into the fur trade in 1830, the family's fortune took a big hit. When Allan died suddenly in 1832, ﬁnances dwindled signiﬁcantly. Allan's oldest son, Gansevoort, took control of the family's fur and cap business in New York following his father's death, while Herman Melville clerked at a bank to help make ends meet. During the 1830s, he was enrolled at Albany Academy and Albany Classical School, where he studied classic literature and began wriBng poems, essays and short stories. He leO Albany in 1837 for a teaching job in MassachuseRs, but found the work to be unfulﬁlling and soon returned to New York. That year, Gansevoort's fur and cap business folded, pulng the Melvilles back into a dire ﬁnancial situaBon. The family relocated to Lansingburgh, New York, and Herman enrolled at Lansingburgh Academy to study surveying, hopeful of gaining employment with the newly iniBated Erie Canal project. Unable to gain a coveted job, Melville instead followed Gansevoort's suggesBon to work as a crew member on a boat. In 1839, he signed on as a cabin boy for a merchant ship called the St. Lawrence, which traveled from New York City to Liverpool, England, and back. 97 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 In 1841, Melville embarked on his second sea voyage aOer being hired to work aboard the Acushnet, a whaling ship. His subsequent wild journey provided the sparks for his yet-to-berealised literary career: AOer arriving at the Marquesas Islands of Polynesia in 1842, Melville and a crewmate deserted the ship and, soon aOer, were captured by local cannibals. Although Melville was treated well, he escaped aOer four months on board another whaling ship, the Lucy Ann, and was jailed aOer joining the crew in a muBny. He eventually wound up in Hawaii before catching a ride back to MassachuseRs on the USS United States, arriving home more than three years aOer he leO.Melville immediately set about pulng pen to paper to capture his experiences. Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846), a combinaBon of his personal tales and imagined events, drew aRenBon for its detailed descripBons of seafaring life and a seemingly too-wild-to-believe plot. The author followed in 1847 with an equally successful sequel, Omoo: A NarraBve of Adventures in the South Seas.His career on the ascent, Melville in 1847 married Elizabeth Shaw, daughter of the chief jusBce of MassachuseRs. They would go on to have four children. Melville delivered a series of lectures throughout the late 1850s, and the following decade he began a 20-year career as a customs inspector in New York City. He also turned his creaBve interests to poetry during this period, publishing a collecBon called BaRle-Pieces and Aspects of the War in 1866. In 1876, he published the epic Clarel: A Poem and Pilgrimage in the Holy Land, based on a previous trip to the region. Melville had ﬁnally begun work on another novel when he died of a heart aRack in New York City on September 28, 1891. His early fame had vanished by then, but many of his books were eventually reprinted, and his name began slowly gaining tracBon in the literary world. By the early 1920s, Melville had become a well-known ﬁgure among readers and criBcs alike; his last novel also saw the light of day, published in 1924 as Billy Budd, Sailor. Today, Herman Melville is regarded as one of America's greatest writers, his masterpiece MobyDick adapted for the big screen in 1956 and enduring as a staple of school reading lists. Interest in Melville and his works spiked again in 2015 with the release of the Ron Howard-directed In the Heart of the Sea, about the ill-fated voyage of the Essex. 13.2.2. Herman Melville’s sea novels and travel literature Something to take into account when studying Herman Melville is that his novels and romances are highly autobiographical. Thanks to his own experience in sea voyages through the AtlanBc and Paciﬁc oceans, Melville got inspiraBon for wriBng such novels. The reason why Melville got into these adventures is basically due to the whaling industry running in the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States and Canada. In his case, he did not care the whale oil sell, but the adventures on 98 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 the sea and the discovery of new cultures and communiBes. His ﬁrst sea novel was Typee, novel inspired by his ﬁrst voyage on the Paciﬁc when whaling. For wriBng Typee, Melville spent ﬁve years in the South sea, when he also realised about the diﬀerent cultures over there. Consequently, Melville will provide anthropological and biological studies in his novels. These studies embrace descripBons of costumes of typical cannibals. Typee became a highly popular novel due to the curiosity of Americans about places in other parts of the world. Therefore, it is a novel wriRen according to the preferences of American ciBzens. To a certain extent, Melville criBcises social customs and imposiBons from the United States since this naBon aimed to colonise other lands as European countries, so that they took the Paciﬁc. Herman Melville’s main sea novels: - Typee (1846) Mardi (1847) Redburn (1849) White Jacket (1850) Moby-Dick (1851) AOer this successful career as a writer, Melville will compose his most-known romance/novel: Moby-Dick in 1851). Unfortunately, he gave up wriBng due to the failure Moby-Dick supposed. Just during the 1920s, American scholars decided to study why the novel failed and they themselves found out that it was an admirable work. Melville transformed his novel The Whale into an exploraBon of evil and hitman life unBl gelng Moby-Dick. 13.2.3. Moby-Dick, or The Whale a. Summary of the romance Ishmael, the narrator, announces his intent to ship aboard a whaling vessel. He has made several voyages as a sailor but none as a whaler. He travels to New Bedford, MassachuseRs, where he stays in a whalers’ inn. Since the inn is rather full, he has to share a bed with a harpooner from the South Paciﬁc named Queequeg. At ﬁrst repulsed by Queequeg’s strange habits and shocking appearance (Queequeg is covered with taRoos), Ishmael eventually comes to appreciate the man’s generosity and kind spirit, and the two decide to seek work on a whaling vessel together. They take a ferry to Nantucket, the tradiBonal capital of the whaling industry. There they secure berths on the Pequod, a savage-looking ship adorned with the bones and teeth of sperm whales. Peleg and Bildad, the Pequod’s Quaker owners, drive a hard bargain in terms of salary. They also menBon the 99 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 ship’s mysterious captain, Ahab, who is sBll recovering from losing his leg in an encounter with a sperm whale on his last voyage. The Pequod leaves Nantucket on a cold Christmas Day with a crew made up of men from many diﬀerent countries and races. Soon the ship is in warmer waters, and Ahab makes his ﬁrst appearance on deck, balancing gingerly on his false leg, which is made from a sperm whale’s jaw. He announces his desire to pursue and kill Moby Dick, the legendary great white whale who took his leg, because he sees this whale as the embodiment of evil. Ahab nails a gold doubloon to the mast and declares that it will be the prize for the ﬁrst man to sight the whale. As the Pequod sails toward the southern Bp of Africa, whales are sighted and unsuccessfully hunted. During the hunt, a group of men, none of whom anyone on the ship’s crew has seen before on the voyage, emerges from the hold. The men’s leader is an exoBc-looking man named Fedallah. These men consBtute Ahab’s private harpoon crew, smuggled aboard in deﬁance of Bildad and Peleg. Ahab hopes that their skills and Fedallah’s propheBc abiliBes will help him in his hunt for Moby Dick. The Pequod rounds Africa and enters the Indian Ocean. A few whales are successfully caught and processed for their oil. From Bme to Bme, the ship encounters other whaling vessels. Ahab always demands informaBon about Moby Dick from their captains. One of the ships, the Jeroboam, carries Gabriel, a crazed prophet who predicts doom for anyone who threatens Moby Dick. His predicBons seem to carry some weight, as those aboard his ship who have hunted the whale have met disaster. While trying to drain the oil from the head of a captured sperm whale, Tashtego, one of the Pequod’s harpooners, falls into the whale’s voluminous head, which then rips free of the ship and begins to sink. Queequeg saves Tashtego by diving into the ocean and culng into the slowly sinking head. During another whale hunt, Pip, the Pequod’s black cabin boy, jumps from a whaleboat and is leO behind in the middle of the ocean. He goes insane as the result of the experience and becomes a crazy but propheBc jester for the ship. Soon aOer, the Pequod meets the Samuel Enderby, a whaling ship whose skipper, Captain Boomer, has lost an arm in an encounter with Moby Dick. The 100 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 two captains discuss the whale; Boomer, happy simply to have survived his encounter, cannot understand Ahab’s lust for vengeance. Not long aOer, Queequeg falls ill and has the ship’s carpenter make him a coﬃn in anBcipaBon of his death. He recovers, however, and the coﬃn eventually becomes the Pequod’s replacement life buoy. Ahab orders a harpoon forged in the expectaBon that he will soon encounter Moby Dick. He bapBses the harpoon with the blood of the Pequod’s three harpooners. The Pequod kills several more whales. Issuing a prophecy about Ahab’s death, Fedallah declares that Ahab will ﬁrst see two hearses, the second of which will be made only from American wood, and that he will be killed by hemp rope. Ahab interprets these words to mean that he will not die at sea, where there are no hearses and no hangings. A typhoon hits the Pequod, illuminaBng it with electrical ﬁre. Ahab takes this occurrence as a sign of imminent confrontaBon and success, but Starbuck, the ship’s ﬁrst mate, takes it as a bad omen and considers killing Ahab to end the mad quest. AOer the storm ends, one of the sailors falls from the ship’s masthead and drowns—a grim foreshadowing of what lies ahead. Ahab’s fervent desire to ﬁnd and destroy Moby Dick conBnues to intensify, and the mad Pip is now his constant companion. The Pequod approaches the equator, where Ahab expects to ﬁnd the great whale. The ship encounters two more whaling ships, the Rachel and the Delight, both of which have recently had fatal encounters with the whale. Ahab ﬁnally sights Moby Dick. The harpoon boats are launched, and Moby Dick aRacks Ahab’s harpoon boat, destroying it. The next day, Moby Dick is sighted again, and the boats are lowered once more. The whale is harpooned, but Moby Dick again aRacks Ahab’s boat. Fedallah, trapped in the harpoon line, is dragged overboard to his death. Starbuck must manoeuvre the Pequod between Ahab and the angry whale. On the third day, the boats are once again sent aOer Moby Dick, who once again aRacks them. The men can see Fedallah’s corpse lashed to the whale by the harpoon line. Moby Dick rams the Pequod and sinks it. Ahab is then caught in a harpoon line and hurled out of his harpoon boat to his death. All of the remaining whaleboats and men are caught in the vortex created by the sinking Pequod and pulled under to their deaths. Ishmael, who was thrown from a boat at the beginning of the chase, was far enough away to escape the whirlpool, and he alone survives. He ﬂoats atop Queequeg’s coﬃn, which popped back up from the wreck, unBl he is picked up by the Rachel, which is sBll searching for the crewmen lost in her earlier encounter with Moby Dick. b. Introduc=on to Moby-Dick 101 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Melville previous novels were meant to be a training for what in the 1920s will be considered as his master piece: Moby-Dick. Moby-Dick is an ambiBous romance that deals with universal topics which could be treated any Bme and anywhere. It is a very complete romance: love, friendship, adventure, madness, revenge and death. It is also an autobiographical romance since it is inspired by Melville’s own experiences. Indeed, this romance is about legends of southern sperm ﬁsheries as well. Ishmael is probably a projecBon of Melville himself as a writer. He speculates against the corrupBon of humankind, calvinism and nature of evil within ourselves. Darkness of white men and civilisaBon as the most ferocious creatures on Earth. In the end, Herman Melville teaches us that taking revenge against an animal (as captain Ahab does) is useless. c. Inﬂuences Literary inﬂuences like The Holy Bible or Paradise Lost meant a great connecBon between these religious texts and Moby-Dick. Moreover, Herman Melville was probably the greatest AmericanShakespearean who highly admired the English playwright’s tragedies. Also, his experiences in whaling sailings as well as his studies of whales and nature of the sea. Therefore, scienBﬁc inﬂuences like Natural history of sperm whales by Thomas Beale. Other sea adventures, narraBves and legends wriRen by other men. Moby-Dick is the result of the contrast of all these materials which ended up being a philosophical work to a signiﬁcant extent. Moby-Dick supposed a complex process of wriBng, which was either inspired by an arBcle called Mocha Dick about a whale that aRacked ships and mariners. Another addiBonal arBcle that inﬂuenced Melville was The Essex of Nantucket. This arBcle talked about a famous shipwreck suﬀered by a whaling ship in Nantucket. Therefore, although Herman Melville writes this story, it ends up being a mixture of all these sources. The reason of its success (almost a century later) is due to its complexity when mixing materials as well as the modernity of this romance. Moby-Dick is deﬁnitely a documentary, a research on whale hunBng and their lives; exploraBon of the existence of God, friendship and a discussion of life at sea. It is also its perfect narraBon when explaining how to hunt such great creatures like Moby-Dick. Travel narra=ve: Moby-Dick is considered to be a romance because many of the ideas shared by Nathaniel Hawthorne ﬁt in Melville’s story. There are plenty symbols, revelaBon of the true from heart and allegorical elements13 , epics as a literary form and Shakespearian tragedies. Undoubtedly, these elements did surprise American scholars during the 1920s. 13 Moby-Dick rather criticises allegories 102 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Modernity: It is something absolutely easy that readers get lost when reading Moby-Dick, basically, due to the mulBplicity of voices (mariners, narrator, etc.). Ishamel seems to be the main narrator, though his narraBon breaks lately due to all the digressions by Ahab. E.g. the whale is a signiﬁer full of signiﬁers, too. The closer you want to get to the real meaning of a word, the more complex it gets. There is also criBcism related to environmental concern because of the massive exterminaBon of whales in the ocean. d. The allegorical mode in Moby-Dick Moby-Dick is undoubtedly an allegory according to many scholars and literary criBcs. The Pequod and its crew is composed by men from diﬀerent countries that represent the world and the variety of naBonaliBes within. The lives of the members of the crew are uncertain and dangerous and indeed the journey they take is pracBcally related to their lives. The sea is dangerous and stronger than human beings, so it is something brave and risky the moment they undertake this adventure. What Melville seems to be saying through this novel is that we cannot guess anything in life since life itself is dangerous and unpredictable. For instance, Ishmael represents that fate is not always as threatening as it is thought. In fact, we can be lucky and decide what our desBny really is. Life is unpredictable, but there is a choice of free-will and chance. Moby-Dick is an allegory whose aim is to explain that allegories are someBmes useless. There is a parallelism between life in earth and the spiritual world. Melville writes an allegory to undermine to what extent Puritan allegories are useless because he reckoned that it is pracBcally impossible to ﬁnd interpretaBve clues in the material world that can lead us to an objecBve truth. The author is scepBcal and seems to think that reaching a certain meaning is impossible. He actually looks for categorical answers to death. As menBoned previously, the whale is the signiﬁer and its true meaning becomes really hard for us to understand. For sure, there are addiBonal meanings like God or dark aspects of nature, duty or terror. Therefore, there is a constant duality in every allegory. Melville uses the whale in order to make us see that ﬁnding meaning in everything (as Puritans did) lacks of sense. There is not a coherent explanaBon of the whale in reality. Hence, the conclusion of this romance is that the whale remains a mystery and enigma. e. Characters 103 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Ishmael Melville does not provide much informaBon about Ishmael himself, but he is the narrator of the romance. He used to work as a teacher, though he chose living adventures as Herman Melville did, so he opts for joining the Pequod. Unfortunately, he suﬀers a psychological crisis once he joins this company and feels that he does not ﬁt among the Pequod’s members. Instead, he mixes intellectual qualiBes with a slight adventurous spirit. In fact, he is forgoRen through the novel and not considered aRracBve as captain Ahab. Captain Ahab Captain Ahab is considered the most charismaBc and aRracBve character from the romance. He has a terrible aspect both physically and psychologically: All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby-Dick. He piled upon the whale's white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart's shell upon it.
He is the personiﬁcaBon of madness and evilness, so when Ishmael ﬁrst meets him, he gets terriﬁed and tries to go away: “He’s like layers of clouds in a mountain peak.” Captain Boomer, the opposite kind of captain, thinks that having survived the aRack of this whale is fair enough and that it is insane taking revenge from an animal. Nevertheless, Ahab does think he can capture the whale although he also know that he will die aOer that. Anyhow, Ahab becomes a hero whose conﬁdence is terrible dangerous and costs him his death. Ahab blames Moby-Dick of the hurt in his pride. He odes not realise that it is simply an animal which tries to defend itself. Just taking into account that this captain names the whale as Moby-Dick results really shocking, since the white is treated as an individual. Although the 95% of the Pequod dies in this shipwreck, it is captain Ahab the one who ﬁrst dies, so that we can see to which point his madness leads him. Captain Ahab’s fatal ﬂow or “hubris” is deﬁnitely his overconﬁdence; he thinks that he is a kind of God who also can defeat the whale. The only thing in life to do for him is destroying Moby-Dick. Therefore, Ahab’s characterisaBon could result to be confusing since he can be considered either a byronic hero or an anBhero14 . That is 14 See essay on “Characterization of Captain Ahab: hero, antihero or overreacher?” 104 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 why both Heathcliﬀ (from Wuthering Heights) and captain Ahab are heroes and villains at the same Bme: revenge is their main aim. His previous episode with Moby-Dick costed him a psychological trauma and the loss of his leg. His reasoning works like: because he was the vicBm, he has to become now the aggressor. Indeed, thanks to his passionate spirit, he never gives up. f. Some topics Brotherhood: Herman Melville presents a model of friendship that turns into a kind of brotherhood through the relaBonship between Ishmael and Queequeg. Both friends seem to be dependent from each other at the same Bme they need to share things to their shipmates. Ahab, for instance, thinks that friendship destroys his will and freedom. Race and nature: black members of the romance are mistreated by white members like captain Ahab. Moby-Dick demonstrates that there is a certain equality between them since tasks in the Pequod are not given because of racial issues but for skills. African-Americans are paid equally and share the same fate with the rest of the ship members. Mystery of the universe Free will vs fate The whale: Moby-Dick is the embodiment of the evil. Everything that is considered wrong in this universe is found in the whale, whereas the Pequod represents God (don’t agree with you teacher). The whale frustrates free will though God is always over us, so that Moby-Dick cannot be more powerful than God. A whale is something that cannot be completely seen, but just part of its body. Therefore, readers cannot reach just one single conclusion. Ishmael, indeed, tries to ﬁnd the essence of the whale through its diﬃcult percepBon. Yet, the whale is like God to some extent; even its white colour is ambiguously symbolic: it may mean both purity and evilness. Moby-Dick is a sperm albino whale with an antro-morphological connotaBon since whiteness in Africa is related to evilness. Moreover, whiteness is related to eroBc passion due to its pureness. 105 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 14: Slave Narra=ves and An=-Slavery Awareness: Frederick Douglass (1818-95) and Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96) Slave narratives were written as a way of response for the anti-slavery movement from the North of the 1850s. Families were separated and Northern Christians believed that was something unfair for anyone despite their race, sex or age. Beyond the political interest, these stories are full of episodes of real adventures lived by real slaves who attempted to survive and scape from the southern plantations. Therefore, there is literary value, to a certain extent, in this kind of narratives.
14.1. Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) 14.1.1. Biography Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born into slavery in Talbot County, Maryland, around 1818. The exact year and date of Douglass's birth are unknown, though later in life he chose to celebrate it on February 14. Douglass iniBally lived with his maternal grandmother, BeRy Bailey. At a young age, Douglass was selected to live in the home of the plantaBon owners, one of whom may have been his father. His mother, an intermiRent presence in his life, died when he was around 10. Frederick Douglass was eventually sent to the BalBmore home of Hugh Auld. It was there that Douglass ﬁrst acquired the skills that would vault him to naBonal celebrity. Defying a ban on teaching slaves to read and write, Auld’s wife Sophia taught Douglass the alphabet when he was around 12. When Auld forbade his wife’s lessons, Douglass conBnued to learn from white children and others in the neighbourhood. It was through reading that Douglass’s ideological opposiBon to slavery began to take shape. He read newspapers avidly and sought out poliBcal wriBng and literature as much as possible. In later years, Douglass credited The Columbian Orator with clarifying and deﬁning his views on human rights. Douglass shared his newfound knowledge with other enslaved people. Hired out to William Freeland, he taught other slaves on the plantaBon to read the New Testament at a weekly church service. Interest was so great that in any week, more than 40 slaves would aRend lessons. Although Freeland did not interfere with the lessons, other local slave owners were less understanding. Armed with clubs and stones, they dispersed the congregaBon permanently. With Douglass moving between the Aulds, he was later made to work for Edward Covey, who had a reputaBon as a "slave-breaker.” Covey’s constant abuse did nearly break the 16-year-old 106 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Douglass psychologically. Eventually, however, Douglass fought back, in a scene rendered powerfully in his ﬁrst autobiography. AOer losing a physical confrontaBon with Douglass, Covey never beat him again. Douglass tried to escape from slavery twice before he succeeded. He was assisted in his ﬁnal aRempt by Anna Murray, a free black woman in BalBmore with whom Douglass had fallen in love. On September 3, 1838, Douglass boarded a train to Havre de Grace, Maryland. Murray had provided him with some of her savings and a sailor's uniform. He carried idenBﬁcaBon papers obtained from a free black seaman. Douglass made his way to the safe house of aboliBonist David Ruggles in New York in less than 24 hours. Once he had arrived, Douglass sent for Murray to meet him in New York. They married on September 15, 1838, adopBng the married name of Johnson to disguise Douglass’s idenBty. Anna and Frederick seRled in New Bedford, MassachuseRs, which had a thriving free black community. There they adopted Douglass as their married name. Frederick Douglass joined a black church and regularly aRended aboliBonist meeBngs. He also subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison's weekly journal The Liberator. Eventually Douglass was asked to tell his story at aboliBonist meeBngs, aOer which he became a regular anB-slavery lecturer. Garrison was impressed with Douglass’s strength and rhetorical skill, and wrote of him in The Liberator. Several days aOer the story ran, Douglass delivered his ﬁrst speech at the MassachuseRs AnB-Slavery Society's annual convenBon in Nantucket. Crowds were not always hospitable to Douglass. While parBcipaBng in an 1843 lecture tour through the Midwest, Douglass was chased and beaten by an angry mob before being rescued by a local Quaker family. At the urging of Garrison, Douglass wrote and published his ﬁrst autobiography, NarraBve of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, in 1845. The book was a best seller in the United States and was translated into several European languages. Although the work garnered Douglass many fans, some criBcs expressed doubt that a former slave with no formal educaBon could have produced such elegant prose. Douglass published three versions of his autobiography during his lifeBme, revising and expanding on his work each Bme. My Bondage and My Freedom appeared in 1855. In 1881, Douglass published Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, which he revised in 1892. Following the publicaBon of his autobiography, Douglass traveled overseas to evade recapture. He set sail for Liverpool on August 16, 1845, and eventually arrived in Ireland as the Potato Famine was beginning. He remained in Ireland and Britain for two years, speaking to large crowds on the evils of slavery. During this Bme, Douglass’s BriBsh supporters gathered funds to purchase his legal freedom. In 1847, the famed writer and orator returned to the United States a free man. 107 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Upon his return, Douglass produced some aboliBonist newspapers: The North Star, Frederick Douglass Weekly, Frederick Douglass' Paper, Douglass' Monthly and New NaBonal Era. The moRo of The North Star was "Right is of no Sex – Truth is of no Color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren." In addiBon to aboliBon, Douglass became an outspoken supporter of women’s rights. In 1848, he was the only African American to aRend the ﬁrst women's rights convenBon at Seneca Falls, New York. Elizabeth Cady Stanton asked the assembly to pass a resoluBon staBng the goal of women's suﬀrage. Many aRendees opposed the idea. Douglass stood and spoke eloquently in favour, arguing that he could not accept the right to vote as a black man if women could not also claim that right. The resoluBon passed. Yet Douglass would later come into conﬂict with women’s rights acBvists for supporBng the FiOeenth Amendment, which banned suﬀrage discriminaBon based on race while upholding sex-based restricBons. By the Bme of the Civil War, Douglass was one of the most famous black men in the country. He used his status to inﬂuence the role of African Americans in the war and their status in the country. In 1863, Douglass conferred with President Abraham Lincoln regarding the treatment of black soldiers, and later with President Andrew Johnson on the subject of black suﬀrage. President Lincoln's EmancipaBon ProclamaBon, which took eﬀect on January 1, 1863, declared the freedom of all slaves in Confederate territory. Despite this victory, Douglass supported John C. Frémont over Lincoln in the 1864 elecBon, ciBng his disappointment that Lincoln did not publicly endorse suﬀrage for black freedmen. Slavery everywhere in the United States was subsequently outlawed by the raBﬁcaBon of the Thirteenth Amendment to the ConsBtuBon. Douglass was appointed to several poliBcal posiBons following the war. He served as president of the Freedman's Savings Bank and as chargé d'aﬀaires for the Dominican Republic. AOer two years, he resigned from his ambassadorship over objecBons to the parBculars of U.S. government policy. He was later appointed minister-resident and consul-general to the Republic of HaiB, a post he held between 1889 and 1891. Douglass became the ﬁrst African American nominated for vice president of the United States as Victoria Woodhull's running mate on the Equal Rights Party Bcket in 1872. Nominated without his knowledge or consent, Douglass never campaigned. Nonetheless, his nominaBon marked the ﬁrst Bme that an African American appeared on a presidenBal ballot. In 1877, Douglass visited one of his former owners, Thomas Auld. Douglass had met with Auld's daughter, Amanda Auld Sears, years before. The visit held personal signiﬁcance for Douglass, although some criBcised him for the reconciliaBon. Frederick and Anna Douglass had ﬁve children: RoseRa, Lewis Henry, Frederick Jr., Charles Redmond and Annie, who died at the age of 10. Charles and RoseRa assisted their father in the 108 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 producBon of his newspaper The North Star. Anna remained a loyal supporter of Frederick's public work, despite marital strife caused by his relaBonships with several other women. AOer Anna’s death, Douglass married Helen PiRs, a white feminist from Honeoye, New York. PiRs was the daughter of Gideon PiRs Jr., an aboliBonist colleague. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, PiRs worked on a radical feminist publicaBon and shared many of Douglass’s moral principles. Their marriage caused considerable controversy, since PiRs was white and nearly 20 years younger than Douglass. Douglass’s children were especially displeased with the relaBonship. Douglass and PiRs remained married unBl his death 11 years later. On February 20, 1895, he aRended a meeBng of the NaBonal Council of Women in Washington, D.C. Shortly aOer returning home, Frederick Douglass died of a massive heart aRack or stroke. He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York. 14.1.2. Frederick Douglass and the slave narra=ves The fact that Douglass and other slaves were segregated served as good propaganda for Northerns whose aim was to convince Southerns of gelng oﬀ slavery. Douglass resulted that relevant for these people especially for his self-educaBon. For Covey, the overseer, slaves had their souls defeated, something likely more serious than physical punishment. Douglass suﬀered several types of punishments and abuses as an “instrucBve” way of domesBcaBon. However, Douglass ﬁnally revealed himself against Covey when he himself quesBoned Douglass’ work. Douglass showed that he had voice and although the consequences were rather rough. In his major work The Narra3ve of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave, wriNen by himself (1845), readers can get shocked just by this “an American slave.” The writer himself makes reference to two remarkable things: ﬁrstly, he includes himself into the great amount of slaves in North-America and also calls himself “American” and not other things like “AfricanAmerican.” In 1850, fugi=ve slave laws15 were approved in the United States of America. Since Frederick Douglass was unprotected in the US, he decided to move to the UK in order to enjoy more freedom. He will keep on ﬁghBng anB-slavery right in Britain and just when he returned to the States he had gathered enough money to buy his freedom. In The Narra3ve of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave, wriNen by himself, Douglass is saying in some way that he is more than a slave and that he can be a writer as white The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850, as part of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slave-holding interests and Northern Free-Soilers. This was one of the most controversial elements of the 1850 compromise and heightened Northern fears of a "slave power conspiracy". It required that all escaped slaves were, upon capture, to be returned to their masters and that officials and citizens of free states had to cooperate in this law.
Abolitionists nicknamed it the "Bloodhound Law" for the dogs that were used to track down runaway slaves.
15 109 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 men. He wanted to demonstrate that the assumpBon of white people about the incapacity of slaves in wriBng was uncertain, so that he ended up wriBng like them. His other aim was to narrate a true story so that readers can feel sympathy to him. Nevertheless, he did not write that simple (something required by Northerns) but in a literacy way. In fact, Frederick Douglass found inspiraBon in other aboliBonist texts, sermons and literary works. Americans believed that Frederick Douglass was a true black slave and consequently someone more reliable than white aboliBonists. African-Americans needed to be proud if wanted to be read and believed by other white ciBzens. He transmiRed true tesBmonies and added up new episodes to the history of African-American slaves by including himself among the vast amount of slaves in the USA. However, he obtained some help which raised him intellectually. The most interesBng point for readers is undoubtedly the runaway of these slaves. Unfortunately, he had to omit those details with the purpose of protecBng other slaves whose “owners” would know their methodology. Nevertheless, there is more than that like the mistreaBng and cruelty over these slaves. Slave narrates were also a speech to demonstrate that African-American slaves were also human beings. Frederick Douglass reckoned that you as slave owner are not human, though, so it can be found a dehumanising eﬀect on those who sBll supported slavery in the South. Hence, slavery aﬀects both to owners and slaves. As many biographies, there is a ﬁrst person narrator with the aim to get closer to the reader. Sympathy and idenBﬁcaBon between white and black and black to other black men. Indeed, it is RomanBcism another feature found in these type of wriBngs: unequal baRle between Covey and Douglass sBll shows heroism in Frederick and, likewise, the idea of Byronic hero16 as in captain Ahab or Heathcliﬀ from Moby-Dick and Wuthering Heights respecBvely. 14.2. Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-96) Harriet Beecher Stowe wanted to transform the public opinion about slavery through her novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). This novel embraces an enormous poliBcal impact due to its polemic with aboliBonism. Nevertheless, she was indeed congratulated by the same Abraham Lincoln, who approved the Fireen Amendment of 186317. For sure, Southerners did not like this novel since they stated above all things that they loved their slaves and that they themselves were properly treated. 16 Cooked up by the "mad, bad, and dangerous to know" Lord Byron, a Byronic hero is an antihero of the highest order. He (or she) is typically rebellious, arrogant, anti-social or in exile, and darkly, enticingly romantic.
17 The Fifteen Amendment of 1863 ended up with slavery in the whole United States of America.
110 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote this novel ﬁrstly for ChrisBan American Northerns who were meant to convince their husbands to supporBng the aboliBonist cause. Morally speaking, Stowe stated that women were superior to men, which ended up being a highly powerful weapon against slavery as well as very clever. Consequently, Uncle Tom’s Cabin was welcomed in the South. For many years, this North-American classic was forgoRen unBl the 1960s. Reasons for that oblivion were, among others, that Modernists reckoned this novel was actually a poliBcal and trendy novel, though it really goes further. TradiBonally, women were meant to write senBmental novels about women who felt desperately in love with a man and live happily Bll the end of her life (e.g. Jane Austen’s novels). However, she pretends to write about a real and remarkable issue like slavery. 14.2.1. Biography Harriet Elizabeth Beecher was born on June 14, 1811, in Litchﬁeld, ConnecBcut. She was one of 13 children born to religious leader Lyman Beecher and his wife, Roxanna Foote Beecher, who died when Harriet was a child. Harriet’s seven brothers grew up to be ministers, including the famous leader Henry Ward Beecher. Her sister Catharine Beecher was an author and a teacher who helped to shape Harriet’s social views. Another sister, Isabella, became a leader of the cause of women’s rights. Harriet enrolled in a school run by Catharine, following the tradiBonal course of classical learning usually reserved for young men. At the age of 21, she moved to CincinnaB, Ohio, where her father had become the head of the Lane Theological Seminary. Lyman Beecher took a strong aboliBonist stance following the pro-slavery CincinnaB Riots of 1836. His altude reinforced the aboliBonist beliefs of his children, including Stowe. Stowe found like-minded friends in a local literary associaBon called the Semi-Colon Club. Here, she formed a friendship with fellow member and seminary teacher Calvin Ellis Stowe. They were married on January 6, 1836, and eventually moved to a coRage near in Brunswick, Maine, close to Bowdoin College. Along with their interest in literature, Harriet and Calvin Stowe shared a strong belief in aboliBon. In 1850, Congress passed the FugiBve Slave Law, prompBng distress and distress in aboliBonist and free black communiBes of the North. Stowe decided to express her feelings through a literary representaBon of slavery, basing her work on the life of Josiah Henson and on her own observaBons. In 1851, the ﬁrst instalment of Stowe’s novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, appeared in the NaBonal Era. Uncle Tom's Cabin was published as a book the following year and quickly became a best seller. 111 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Stowe’s emoBonal portrayal of the impact of slavery, parBcularly on families and children, captured the naBon's aRenBon. Embraced in the North, the book and its author aroused hosBlity in the South. Enthusiasts staged theatrical performances based on the story, with the characters of Tom, Eva and Topsy achieving iconic status. AOer the Civil War began, Stowe traveled to Washington, D.C., where she met with Abraham Lincoln. A possibly apocryphal but popular story credits Lincoln with the greeBng, “So you are the liRle woman who wrote the book that started this great war.” While liRle is known about the meeBng, the persistence of this story captures the perceived signiﬁcance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the split between North and South. Stowe conBnued to write and to champion social and poliBcal causes for the rest of her life. She published stories, essays, textbooks and a long list of novels, including Oldtown Folks and Dred. While none of these matched Uncle Tom’s Cabin in terms of popularity, Stowe remained well known and respected in the North, parBcularly in reform-minded communiBes. She was oOen asked to weigh in on poliBcal issues of the day, such as Mormon polygamy. Despite the moral recBtude of the Beechers, the family was not immune to scandal. In 1872, charges of an adulterous aﬀair between Henry Ward Beecher and a female parishioner brought naBonal scandal. Stowe maintained that her brother was innocent throughout the subsequent trial. While Stowe is closely associated with New England, she spent a considerable amount of Bme near Jacksonville, Florida. Among Stowe’s many causes was the promoBon of Florida as a vacaBon desBnaBon and a place for social and economic investment. The Stowe family spent winters in Mandarin, Florida. One of Stowe’s books, PalmeRo Leaves, takes place in northern Florida, describing both the land and the people of that region. Stowe died on July 1, 1896, in Har‰ord, ConnecBcut. She was 85. Her body is buried at Phillips Academy in Andover, MassachuseRs, under the epitaph “Her Children Rise up and Call Her Blessed.” Landmarks dedicated to the life, work and memory of Harriet Beecher Stowe exist across the eastern United States. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, Maine, is where Stowe lived when she wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. In 2001, Bowdoin College purchased the house, together with a newer aRached building, and was able to raise the substanBal funds necessary to restore the house. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Har‰ord, ConnecBcut, preserved the home where Stowe lived for the ﬁnal decades of her life. The home is now a museum, featuring items owned by Stowe, as well as a research library. The home of Stowe’s next-door neighbour, Samuel Clemens (beRer known as Mark Twain), is also open to the public. 112 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 14.2.2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in serialisaBons as many other novels in the Victorian England. These type of novels had typically a reminder of previous chapters at the very beginning and a great suspense in the end. Stowe’s novel became highly popular in the North, whereas in the South were plenty plantaBons novels running. This type of novels’ aim was to convince Northerns and self-disillusioning themselves by aﬃrming that slavery was a nice and respectable insBtuBon. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is completely an aRack against these types of wriBngs. Indeed, Stowe claimed that these Southern novels lacked of the true besBality and violence. PlantaBon novels showed slaves as simple servants instead of as mistreated human-beings. They even claimed that living in the North was worse since slaves were unprotected. Harriet Beecher Stowe was inspired by her moral duty as a woman and ChrisBan who wanted to ﬁght against the fugiBve slave laws of 1850. It was her sisters who sBmulated her to write these novels thanks to her knowledge about the issue and his talent of wriBng. Likewise, she lived in CincinnaB (Ohio), which is close to Kentucky (slavery state), so that the struggle between slavery and aboliBonism was present. Black women who worked as servants in the North became another source of inspiraBon for the American writer. Nonetheless, it was the day she found a black slave who was thought to have run away and whipped to death was created a greater impact on Harriet Beecher Stowe. This novel is deﬁnitely wriRen to demonstrate that one of the most terrible consequences for anyone (including slaves) is being separated from their own families. White men have been dealing with those senBments and people for too much long, so it is Bme to stop. Uncle Tom is not like the rest of the breeders; he is sad because he has been involuntarily separated from his own family. Uncle Tom is even promised to be set free before his formal owner dies. Unfortunately, he is sold out to another owner. This novel is realisBc as well as senBmental. All these gathered details are key to producing sympathy on readers as well as trying to convince Southerners to ﬁnally abolish slavery. 113 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Unit 15: The Transcendentalists: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82), Henry D. Thoreau (1817-62) and Margaret Fuller (1810-50) 15.1. Deﬁni=on and three points of agreement Each transcendentalist writer has his/her own point of view about what this movement is. Some scholars believe it is a religious movement, though it is actually a philosophical one that caused a great impact on American poliBcs. 1820s-1840s. In the States, this movement is centred in the ﬁgure of Emerson who stated that men have knowledge about themselves and the world around them that goes beyond what they feel through the ﬁve senses. To transcend means to go beyond, so it makes sense to think this movement deals with senses beyond the acknowledged ones, the empirical senses. Transcendentalists believe this knowledge comes from intuiBon and feelings. Through this mechanics of ourselves, we can reach the truth out raBonality. It means that humans are not only animals, but raBonal beings who must understand what is going on in the world. Hence, truth lives within ourselves and so we must get that truth just through our being. Transcendentalists did believe in God, but they focused on earthly life because it is what is really proved to be true; free-thinking of the individual (we must be trusted despite what religion states); depravity of humankind by Puritans does not match with the transcendentalist thinking. It is therefore a kind of evoluBon of the Enlightenment; contemplaBon of nature as something incredible powerful. Main members of this movement in the United States are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller. They will be found in Boston, the centre of this movement. They published their ideas through papers like “the Dial.” Their aim was to provide self-conﬁdence to American ciBzens. Although they three treated diﬀerent points, they do coincide in three of them: • Scep=cism about religion; • The individual is the spiritual centre of the universe; • Dissa=sfac=on about society and search for alterna=ve lifestyles. The world of God is found in the Bible. However, transcendentalists reckoned that the Bible is a product of human history and culture, so that they quesBoned to a high extent the authority of this holy book. RevelaBon and knowledge come actually from human beings. Despite its believing, the Bible is sBll a book wriRen by men, so that there can be lots of explanaBons and interpretaBons. Transcendentalists agreed that all religions were created in order to explain what happens aOer death. Humans do not need the authority of the Church and the Bible in order to become a beRer person. Trinitarianism and unitarianism were terms dealt by these transcendentalists and the mulBple branches of ChrisBanity. According to unitarians, God is within 114 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 a person, so every individual can be a source of truth. Both unitarians and transcendentalists agreed in this statement. However, transcendentalists did not agree in terms of miracles wriRen in the Bible because their lack of empiricism. Since the authority is not the Bible, it is the individual the true spiritual centre of the universe. It does not mean that God cannot be found in the Bible, but in nature in within ourselves. This is the reason why transcendentalists focused on the study of nature and humankind. Nature mirrors our soul, so that we should understand the funcBon of it. Society cannot be understood if nature is not deeply studied. This point is very closely linked to RomanBcism. The power of imaginaBon, selfconﬁdence and individual authority is completely found both in the American transcendentalism and the BriBsh RomanBcism; another point in common between these movements is the idea of imaginaBon as something powerful; human beings can be overreachers and achieve whatever they propose themselves. We have to be governors of our own government and ﬁght with those who imposed their authority over us. Materialism and technology was severely criBcised by these thinkers since they reckoned the Industrial RevoluBon was about to end up with nature. CelebraBon of the rural world, utopian countryside and commutes. Power of nature that can give us the knowledge humankind wish. Nature, unfortunately, is in danger by those who inhabit in it. Hence, there are certain steps to be followed in order to become a proper transcendentalist: going to the countryside and enjoy it, get the knowledge nature provide us and ﬁnally forget the authority of the Bible. 15.2. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1808-82): life and impact on US culture Emerson stated that the true independence from Europe resides in the contact with nature in North-America. Nature of the United States must be appreciated and carefully treated if wanted to be set free from the oppressive foreign Europe. Emerson’s ideas were based on RomanBcism and patrioBsm. Other principles that he wanted to arBculate in his cultural emancipaBon were individualism (what maRers is the individual) and self-conﬁdence (rely on individuals). Emerson must be also understood and appreciated because of his help and work in New England. He became a kind of patriarchal ﬁgure who helped other 19th-century writers like Margaret Fuller. According to unitarians like Emerson, Jesus was indeed sent to Earth in order to help humanity, though moral lessons but he was not God since there is only one God. We can all be elected to achieve greatness in life. People had less stress and a posiBve altude to life. There are no elected ones but only believers with common opportuniBes. Everyone has, in fact, the opportunity to studying and criBcising the Bible as the supreme authority like German philosophers. Emerson 115 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 discovered that he could not trust unitarians any longer, so he decided to get joined to Quakers. This religious branch has something to do with transcendentalism because of their solitude to recognise the voice of God in ourselves. Hamatreya (1847) was one of his most famous poems. Emerson was inspired in Hindu philosophy and religion. Since authority did not came from Europe, Americans tried to recollect texts from other cultures like the Chinese or Hindu ones. They were not interested at all in physical aspects and forms but rather in ideas. Hinduism has a major God called Vishnu. This great god has a conversaBon with Maitreya, and that is what the original poem is about. Emerson translated these teachings by Vishnu with the aim of transmilng them up to Americans. The original teaching is that humankind and god/esses believe they belong and own the world they are in, but in reality it is an illusion since it is nature what owns us. The whole land, despite what society thinks, does not belong to anyone because none can own the Earth. The crops are the consequences of natural processes, so that it has not been human work what has proceeded such harvests. He will oﬀer two diﬀerent perspecBves: men’s one, they have rights and ownership over land; the earth’s song one. Earth feels pity for those who think they own the earth because she see them as fools. Men and women are pracBcally like plants since all of them are born, grow up and die. None can control their lives and so happens with the countryside because at the end they shall die. It is deﬁnitely a poem of contrasts: idea of nature vs. idea of man; materialism vs. lack of possession; reality vs. illusion; brevity of life vs. legacy and permanence of nature. “Nature” (1836) is likely one of the most relevant essays of the transcendentalist movement in the US. Knowledge about us and knowledge about God are both found in nature. Nature can show us permanent and highly relevant lessons, we will discover what to be human is in reality. How to build a worthy link between us and nature. Although this life is short, we should enjoy this life and we must do it though nature. You need quietness, solitude and, overall, meditaBon and aRenBon. It is not only that, the lessons that you learn in nature must be applied to your life in a simple way. Like us, nature is wild and authoritarian. Nature has poeBc qualiBes (like RomanBcs) and this idea that the poet is like the messiah, a prophet, a messenger. Indeed this poem is divided into several parts that provide diﬀerent percepBon of the study of the relaBonship between man and nature primarily teach us that we are distracted in our lives and incapable of appreciaBng what nature oﬀers. Nevertheless, we get a lot from nature, but we do not respect nor give anything back to nature. Hence, transcendentalists must be understood as the predecessors of the 20th-21st-century environmental movements. Emerson has hope and sBll thinks mankind can improve by understanding nature and helping her. Nonetheless, it must be taken into account that Emerson was just a theorist, but it was his fellow Henry David Thoreau who put in pracBce Emerson’s ideas. 116 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Retreat from the world, going to nature and enjoying its greatness are some indicaBons this American transcendentalist gives. We are an eye and are provided of legs in order to enjoy nature. Time across nature not only in seasons but in changes in weather. Nature is discovered in all senses by ourselves who see nature in diﬀerent ways. Society cannot see who it is if does not go to nature. In this moment of ecstasies when he is in nature he declares he “becomes a transparent eyeball, I am nothing, I see all” (Emerson, 1847), that means that we are trying to discover the true of ourselves but it is clear that nature is an overwhelming force that makes us understand it. Everyone disappears and then becomes a simple eye that can just see. In order to achieve that, we call for social imposiBons and spiritual union between man and nature. According to pantheist theories, nature is a physical manifestaBon of God; God is an abstract ﬁgure that is to be found therein. Spirituality must not be rejected but used to understand that nature is a manifestaBon of God. Transcendentalism became a highly important movement which helped and impulsed the scienBﬁc study nature. 15.3. Henry David Thoreau (1817-62): Civil Disobedience (1849) and Waldon (1854) Emerson’s disciple who, as disciple means, put into pracBce his theories about living in contact to nature. He studied at Harvard University in MassachuseRs, wherein he lived. Unlike Emerson, Thoreau enjoyed his studied, though he was not happy with the methodology. Later on, he became a diﬀerent kind of teacher with parBcular approaches to teaching. Thoreau reBred himself out of civilisaBon and decided to live in contact with nature as his mentor Emerson instructed. Nevertheless, he was not ﬁrst accepted to Emerson’s group, so he worked as the handyman and gardener of Emerson. Once again, despite his posiBon in Emerson’s group, Thoreau decided to move and live in a piece of land with a gorgeous lake. He undertook an experiment for two years, two months and two days in order to demonstrate that everyone can enjoy an easy lifestyle: eaBng berries, contemplaBng nature, working on his own crops and sleeping. He was fully convinced that natural phenomena like the seasons, rain, sun is something worth to be contemplated. Spiritual signiﬁcance of nature like naBve Americans considered. He deﬁnitely enjoyed observing nature, although he also visited his friends in Concord typically at the weekends. The night he spent in jail was due to his refuse to paying taxes for the AmericanMexican war running in that Bme. AOer that very night, he began to produce his work Civil 117 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Disobedience (1849), where he explains his rejecBon to society and the defence of his arguments against the American government. This essay became highly relevant for the 20th century social and poliBcal protests like Ghandi’s or the students’ protests of the 1960s in the US. The essay Walden (1854) is a collecBon of his rouBnes and experiences living in the countryside. AOernoons and evenings were basically dedicated to contemplaBon. He did felt freedom and happiness in such kind of lifestyle. He reckoned that ciBes were like prisons, oppressive places. Great aRenBon to nature and his spiritual communion to nature. Indeed, Thoreau used his scienBﬁc knowledge on nature to establish what is important to take into account for further scienBﬁc and naturalisBc studies. His last essay and his own example is that living with nature is absolutely possible and graBfying; scepBcism about the technological and industrial products. In addiBon, he put into pracBce the human self-reliance and economical and social independence. Thoreau simply realised that he did not need either civilisaBon or money to be happy. It means, that his labour and work is fair enough for living happily and successfully. There is a hidden need to have less than we think it is needed. 15.4. Margaret Fuller (1810-1850): life and impact on US culture and feminism; The Great Lawsuit (1843) Margaret Fuller was a journalist, a writer and one of the ﬁrst feminists of the United States of America. She will be admired specially by intellectual Americans in her defence of female rights and equality to men. Intellectual and spiritual equality of woman and men; she also stressed the capability of women in doing things. She presented herself as an example of this equality thanks to her educaBon. Women in the US and pracBcally throughout the world there was not possible for women to go to university. She did demonstrated that although she could not enter any American university, she was a really scholar in the sense of being intellectually equal to men. Fuller clearly criBcised the way women were taught to live like their houses and taking care of what their husbands and children needed. She encouraged women to speak in public and show oﬀ their capabiliBes. Deﬁnitely, she was a master of the American leRers and wriBngs and an admirable women by other writers like the previously analysed Thoreau or Emerson. Nevertheless, she was not understood and agreed by everyone since no every men (and even women) thought in that revoluBonary (logical, though) way. In 1843 her narraBve Summer on the lakes was about her tours in the Great Lakes. Horace Greeley wanted Margaret to write in his journal as editor. When worked in The New York Tribune she could publish Woman in the 19th century. The Great Lawsuit (1843) she expressed her thinking through a ﬁcBonal family whose liRle girl Miranda was not allowed to study and do proper “boyish” stuﬀ, though he understood her way of 118 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 thinking to a certain extent. She declared that she was not just a woman but also an individual and free thinker. This essay was not published in The New York Tribune, but in The Dial. First important American document on feminism aOer The VindicaKon of the Rights of Women by Mary WollstonecraO in the UK. All these principles and declaraBons about free thinking should also be applied to women. She was capable of including this statement and pracBces in her works Woman in the 19th century and The Great Lawsuit. This essay was welcomed by many thinkers like Thoreau or Edgar Allan Poe. Nevertheless, she was criBcised by scholars who reckoned that being born female was enough to be worthless. Transcendentalists ideas applied to The Great Lawsuit: everyone should be equal; if equal and total freedom is provided to humankind, it is possible to reach equal opportuniBes and a fair society. Men are accused to be selﬁsh and accuse women of being totally inferior. If we need to know about ourselves and be beRer people, we should apply the same rules and opportuniBes for both men and women; culBvaBon of the self does not only have to be limited to men but also to women. This is necessary for the whole humankind if wanBng to enjoy freedom and culBvate feelings, intuiBon and imaginaBon. She deﬁnitely adapts this feminine thinking and equality to men and women. Margaret Fuller links the oppression of women with the same oppression suﬀered by AfricanAmerican slaves. Thus she also defends the constant and almost-successful ﬁght of American women against this ancient and terrible insBtuBon. Fuller is telling us that women are enough courageous and capable of ﬁghBng for aboliBonism. AboliBonists were successful thanks to the sympatheBc for African-Americans to women. It means that she wanted all those aboliBonists to have the same sympathy and empathy to women who are under a remarkable patriarchal order. Unlike other transcendentalists, Margaret Fuller thought that European colonisaBon provoked this oppression to women and marginalisaBon. Europeans brought up this inequality so that if Americans want to break up completely with Europe, feminism must strengthen itself and show diﬀerence respect to them. She wanted to persuade Americans in that way of comparing them with Europeans (terrible enemies). Even though Americans do not want to, they did have acknowledged that the United States of America must be an example for the rest of the world, so if they establish complete gender equality, the rest of the world may do the same. Religion is also a remarkable insBtuBon for Margaret Fuller since she thought the best relaBonship with God is through religion. There are three types of marriages: mutual dependence, mutual worship and intellectual companionship. The best marriage ever is the religious one, but she believes that each individual should be free before accomplishing him/herself with another person. Women should distance themselves away male inﬂuence since they are simple individuals as men. 119 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 Miranda and her father remind to William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. The father believes in the equality of sexes. Miranda is intelligent and somehow independent. The father believes in the rigorous educaBon for women and reckons that women (or at least her father) is capable of doing whatever she wants to. Nevertheless, her father is sBll a patriarchal ﬁgure whom is wanted by Miranda to be pleased. There is both tension and contradicBon since she wants to be free and thinks that educaBon can make her free. At the same Bme, her wish is to please her father, the one who has the keys for the universe and has great expectaBons for her. Hence her aRenBon to this scholiast issues may be related to her father’s demands and expectaBons. Margaret Fuller reﬂects in the Great Lawsuit the advantages and disadvantages to this kind of situaBon: her father provides her books and educaBon but the very educaBon he wants for her. Thus she claims for an equal educaBon for both genders and not an educaBon dominated by male hands (take into account that universiBes and formal educaBon was restricted and diﬀerent for either men or women Bll the mid-late 20th century. It is not that you want to be a man, but that women must be understood as courageous and capable individuals who can face these kind of skills, acBviBes and jobs aRributed to men in the same way. The essay is called in that way because women could not be layers due to the lack of their legal idenBty. They could not ﬁght, nor be suit by anyone but their fathers or husbands. That is why the law of men is not suitable for both genders, so that she calls for a supreme court not suitable by the United States’ one. She encourages herself to ﬁght against such legal problem against men and the consequent subordinaBon under a patriarchal order. She is like the lawyer ﬁghBng against this subordinaBon and injusBce on earth which cannot be defended through the laws of men. She gives the voice to women. 120 Literatura de los Estados Unidos hasta 1850 ...