Collective Perception, Art Is One Facet of Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

collective perception, art is one facet of life that is governed more by individual thought and emotional predisposition than by institutional prejudices. It should seem a natural disposition of the artist to look within himself for expression, rather than to the very established conventions from which he may seek to provide asylum. Likewise, it strikes a chord of logic to us that an artist makes his primary appeal to his own imagination, rather than to millennia of intellectual rules. This, however, is a new perspective as compared to the age of humanity. From Enlightenment through the mid eighteenth century, classical rules intended to preserve the integrity and exclusivity of artistic expression were the prime determinant in the nature of societal artistic output. However, a surge in the population of the bourgeoisie, an overall expansion in the international middle class, opened up the possibility for artistry without the condition of aristocracy. Many of the formalities and superficialities of literary expression, for one, were subverted and thus began the original age of Romanticism. Now there is much evidence to suggest that romanticism, of all artistic ethos, has been the most influential, perpetuated most significantly in today's varied fields of artistic expression. Where prior approaches to literature promoted form and function most essentially, the inception of romanticism sparked a form of writing whose key identifiers were on man's struggle with morality and his capacity for heroism. This is a novel approach evidenced by the protagonist of "Young Goodman Brown," a representative work of the genre by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

The short story takes the reader on a perilous and harrowing journey through the blackness of a New England wood at night wherein Young Goodman Brown finds himself beset on all sides by evil. He fears that he will meet with the devil on such a night and be tempted to a fast friendship. As a product of the romanticism movement, the piece is powered on the strength of its own emotion as exuded by Brown. The man fluctuates from states of paralyzing fear to triumphant moments of boldness. He finds his confidence in constant jeopardy and, at times, succumbs entirely to self-doubt. Hawthorne's focus is less on execution of the physical journey to which Brown applies himself. His depiction is far more concerned with the personal conflict that savages Brown's peace of mind as he trudges onward through the abyss. It is a narrative only possible through exploration of man's most personal emotional canon, that which gauges his division of good and evil. Such an intimate investigation would not only have been impossible by the formalized standards of classical literature but would have been soundly frowned upon by its contemporary's scholars. But Hawthorne illustrated the inherent necessity for unabashed conveyance of the fragile emotional…

Sources Used in Document:


1. Buell, Lawrence. New England literary culture from revolution through renaissance. 1986. PS243.B84 1986.

2. Gravil, Richard. Romantic dialogues: Anglo-American continuities, 1776-1862. 2000. PS159.E5 G73 2000.

3. Hertz, Robert. "English and American Romanticism." Personalist 46 (1965), 81-92. AP2.P46.

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