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Anthony CampitelliJoe Lang
The Romantic hero refers to a character that rejects established norms and conventions, has been rejected by society, and has the self as the center of his existence.
The Romantic hero first began appearing in literature during the Romantic Period, in works by such authors as Byron, Percy Shelley, and Goethe, and is seen in part as a response to the French Revolution. As Napolean, the "living model of a hero", became a disappointment to many, the notion of the hero as upholding social order began to be challenged.
Characteristics of a traditional Romantic Hero
Possess an understanding of his inner-self or inner-world
Understands the value of his experiences through emotions, intuition, and feelings rather than logically reasoning
Drawn to nature and filled with intuition Reject the standard guidelines of society and
follow own code of morality and justice
Why was the American Romantic Hero formed?
Since the founding of America, up to the early 1800s American authors did not have their own style. They stuck mainly to European themes and structures and were as unsophisticated and uncivilized “copy-cat” authors. This insult jumpstarted the creation of the American Romantic hero.
James Fenimore Cooper is the American author credited with defining a true American Hero in his Leatherstocking Tales
Brief Overview of Leatherstocking Tales
The Leatherstocking Tales are a series of novels set in the early frontier period of American history. The Deerslayer depicts Natty Bumppo's experiences as a young man. The events take place in the 1740s in the upstate New York, where Deerslayer is joined by his Mohican friend, Chingachgook, to rescue two frontiersmen.
The Last of the Mohicans is set in the 1757 during the Seven Years' War between the French and the British. Hawkeye / Bumppo and his friends Chingachgook and Uncas with a group of English civilians are betrayed by their Indian guide Magua. Hawkeye revenges the death of his friend Uncas and an English lady, Cora, and kills Magua
The Pathfinder is also set during the war, and tells a story of betrayal and love.
The Pioneers is set in 1793 in Otsego County in the recently settled region of New York state. Natty Bumppo, now known as Leatherstocking, and his friend Oliver Edwards befriend Judge Temple and his daughter Elisabeth.
Prairie is set in 1804. Natty Bumppo meets a wagon train and helps it to evade an Indian raiding party. The travellers endure a prairie fire, a buffalo stampede, and capture by the Sioux. In the end of the tale Bumppo peacefully dies on the prairie, surrounded by his friends
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
Born in Burlington, New Jersey His father was a United States Congressman After his first birthday, his family moved to Cooperstown,
New York At 13, Cooper was enrolled at Yale, but he did not obtain a
degree (was expelled for too many pranks). At 18, Cooper joined the United States Navy Left Navy in 1811. Had seven children, five lived to adulthood. Published his first book in 1820 Began writing his famous leatherstocking Tales in 1823
(this is beginning of Deerslayer) Wrote his most famous novel last of the Mohicans in 1826
Some of Cooper’s Works PRECAUTION, 1820 THE SPY, 1821 - THE PILOT, 1823 THE PIONEERS, 1823 TALES FOR FIFTEEN, 1823 LIONEL LINCOLN, 1825 THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS-1826 THE PRAIRIE, 1827 THE RED ROVER, 1827 NOTIONS OF THE AMERICANS, 1828 THE WEPT OF WISH-TON-WISH,
1829 THE WATER WITCH, 1830 THE BRAVO, 1831 THE HEIDENMAUER, 1832 THE HEADSMAN, 1833 ) THE SEA LIONS, 1849 THE WAYS OF THE HOUR, 1850
Works cont… A LETTER TO HIS COUNTRYMEN, 1834 THE MONIKINS, 1835 GLEANINGS IN EUROPE, 1836-38 THE AMERICAN DEMOCRAT, 1838 HOMEWARD BOUND, 1838 HOME AS FOUND, 1838 THE PATHFINDER, 1840 - MERCEDES OF CASTILE, 1840 THE DEERSLAYER, 1841 - THE TWO ADMIRALS, 1842 THE JACK O'LANTERN WYANDOTTÉ, 1843 NED MYERS; OR, A LIFE BEFORE THE MAST, 1843 AFLOAT AND ASHORE; OR THE ADVENTURES OF MILES WALLINGFORD, 1844 SATANSTOE; OR, THE LITTLEPAGE MANUSCRIPTS, 1845 THE CHAINBEARER, 1845 THE REDSKINS, 1846 (also entitled RAVENSNEST; OR, THE REDSKINS) JACK TIER; OR, THE FLORIDA REEF 1848 ( also titled CAPTAIN SPIKE; OR, THE ISLETS OF
THE GULF) THE CRATER, 1847 (also entitled MARK'S REEF; OR, THE CRATER) THE BEE-HUNTER, 1848
Basic Outline of American Romantic Hero Traits
Youthful, innocent, and pure of heart Has a sense of honor based not on
society’s rules, but on a higher principle
Knowledge of life/people through intuition = street smarts
Loves nature; avoids city-life Look for a “higher truth” in the natural
American VS Traditional Romantic Hero.
Although the traditional Romantic Hero and the American Romantic Hero share some if not most of the same general qualities as each other, there is certainly one distinct difference. The American Romantic Hero focuses much more heavily on nature, and man being pure as a result from living a simplistic natural lifestyle away from corrupt urban life. This heavy reliance on nature and a more simplistic Indian-like lifestyle has been characterized as being a Noble Savage.
The term noble savage usually refers to what an American Romantic hero is portrayed as. It was popularized from the Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper.
The term refers to a person who usually is not jaded or burdened by city life, and by being so distanced from corrupt society and in touch with nature is viewed as essentially good, as nature is perceived as pure and simplistic. By being so close to his natural settings has become more pure himself…..
Where was James Fenimore Cooper Born? Name 2 novels Fenimore Cooper wrote? What tribe did Deerslayer belong to? Why was the American Romantic Hero
created and how does it differ from a traditional hero at the time?
Explain to the best of your ability what a nobel savage represents and provide an example?
"James Fenimore Cooper." Online Literature. The Literature Network. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. <http://www.online-literature.com/cooperj/>.
Lieukonnen, Petri. "James Fenimore Cooper." Kirjasto.com. Books and Authors. Web. 28 Mar. 2010. <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/jfcooper.htm>.
"The Deerslayer." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, Feb. & March 2009. Web. 29 Mar. 2010. <http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Deerslayer>.
"Romantic Hero." Wikipedia. Wikipedia. Web. 26 Mar. 2010. <http://http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_hero>.