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Masterpieces of American Romantic Literature

Romanticism significantly influenced American literature in the 19th century and led to what has sometimes been called the American Renaissance. The Romantic movement and the period roughly contemporaneous with the Civil War gave birth to some of the most creative and enduring poems, novels, short fiction, and essays. These works are among the most imaginative and challenging pieces of American literature and hold a central place in the curriculum. In addition to their value as literary works, they chronicle the enormous social, political, and historical changes taking place in America. Written expressly for high school students, this book conveniently introduces the major works of American Romanticism. The volume begins with an introductory essay on the Romantic movement. This is followed by chapters on individual works or collections by major authors. Included are chapters on:
  • Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans
  • Emerson's essays
  • Poe's "The Raven" and short fiction
  • Longfellow's Evangeline
  • Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter
  • Melville's Moby-Dick
  • Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • Thoreau's Walden
  • Whitman's Song of Myself
  • and Dickinson's poems. Each chapter provides biographical information, a review of the author's critical reception, and a discussion of plot, themes, characters, language, and other topics. The volume closes with a bibliography.
Product Details

Promotional Information

Offers students and general readers informative introductions to 10 major literary works of American Romanticism, including Poe's The Raven and selected stories, Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and Thoreau's Walden.

About the Author

Melissa McFarland Pennell is Professor of English at University of Massachusetts, Lowell.


"Pennell provides critical introductions to works identified as masterpieces in the tradition of American Romanticism. Coverage includes (for example) the novels Moby-Dick (Melville) and Uncle Tom's Cabin (Stowe) as well as Walt Whitman's Song of Myself and essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Each of ten chapters features an overview of the author's life and career, along with a discussion of responses by contemporary and present-day critics." - Reference & Research Book News

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