Dark Romanticism Vs Transcendentalism

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There are multiple ways in which Dark Romantics can be differentiated from the greater whole of American society during the early to mid-1800s. Unlike their predecessors, the Dark Romantics believed that humans were intrinsically sinful, and prone to self-destruction. Their pieces also include overriding themes of mystery, death, and the macabre. Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat,” is a prime example of a Dark Romantic piece, as it encompasses the niche community’s core principles, and how they viewed ethical dilemmas. The literary scene in pre-civil war America seemed to be split into two distinctly different factions: the optimistic Transcendentalists, and the pessimistic Dark Romantics. Much like Ralph Waldo Emerson led the Transcendentalist Movement in New England, Poe was one of the major figures for Dark Romantic literature in the mid-1800s. Dark Romanticism found its roots as an opposition to Transcendentalism; a reimagining of Transcendentalism that showed humans as inherently evil creatures that were doomed to Hell. Due to this adaptation, the Dark Romantics are also referred to as the Anti-Transcendentalists. Many Americans during this time period were becoming more liberal…show more content…
They examined the darker parts of the human psyche, like addiction, obsession, mental illnesses, and innate sinfulness. Mental illness was a recurring theme in many of Poe’s darker pieces, which is quite different from the way society regarded mental illness. There is a long history of stigma surrounding individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, especially those that are very visible or noticeable. Though Poe’s intention might not have been to write about a taboo topic, it is likely that his own mental anguish played some part in the narrators he decided to create. “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat” are just two examples of Poe using a “crazy” and unreliable narrator to relay the plot to the
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