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Word Count: 1,277
The American Romantic period of literature was simply an attitude or intellectual orientation that characterized many works of literature in America over a period from the late 18th to the mid-19th century Like the writers who embodied it it was a time where the people of America had a deep appreciation of the beauties of nature as well as a novel infatuation with exceptional literary figures focusing on their passions and inner struggles Writers of this era believed that the creative spirit was much more important than traditional writing procedures America had been a country for approximately 75 years and was running out of wilderness to fantasize about The writers of the time came from many different ethnic and religious backgrounds Literature at this time was influenced by a combination of French British Spanish German and African folklore 1 and truly placed an emphasis upon imagination as a gateway to a transcendent experience and spiritual truth Because of the diverse cultural backgrounds of the American populace and obsessive interest in folk culture occurred giving writers freedom to explore the exotic the remote the mysterious the monstrous the occult and yes even the satanic Using three different literary works from this period I will show how the elements of the supernatural were used to conjure the imagination and spark the literary passions of a nation during a time we now call the Romantic period Rip Van Winkle was a short story written by Washington Irving in 1819 The story started out in a period just before American Revolution in a village whose inhabitants were of mostly Dutch origin The supernatural aspects of the story are also of Dutch origin but in no way conveys any religious connotations In Rip Van Winkles ordeal he retreats to the serene shelter of the Kaatskill mountains in order to escape the sharp and ever biting tounge of his wife the Dame Van Winkle I believe Irving chose
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