LITR 5535: American
Individual Questions with links to Sample Answers
1. Why do “desire and loss” re-appear so frequently in American Romantic texts, both as driving forces in the “romance” narrative and as indexes for Romantic values?
Describe the significance of this pattern for the romance narrative and its general significance in Romanticism, citing works by three or four writers. . . .
2. How has American Romanticism continued or changed in post-Romantic American literature?—that is, literature after the Civil War and American Renaissance of the pre-Civil War generation of the1820s-1860s?
Refer to at least three writers from our last four class meetings and to a contemporary poem from the presentations. . . .
3. Historically, Romanticism is associated primarily with European literary traditions and cultural values, and the American writers most typically associated with this literary movement (e. g., Cooper, Poe, Emerson, Whitman, Fitzgerald) are of European descent. In America and especially the United States, however, Romanticism must adapt to a multi-racial nation. In turn, writers from non-European races must consider Romantic themes and genres as options for their compositions.
Write an essay involving three writers representing the three major early American races: American Indian, European, African. Consider how race either complicates, absorbs, or exemplifies the formulas of Romanticism. . . .
4. Citing at least three authors, review and evaluate some varieties of the Gothic encountered this semester. . . .
5. Write an essay concerning some persistent or occasional issue, problem, or theme significant to the course but overlooked by the previous four questions. . . .
Combo answer: One student wrote one long essay combining question 2 (post-Romanticism) with question 1 (desire and loss)