Chapter I. Romanticism in american literature of the XIX century

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Late romanticism

Teaching justice and perseverance in the face of adversity is one of the noble tasks of art. The books of Herman Melville served this purpose, and a reflection of their light remains in everyone who read them. Melville is great at describing the sea. It is sacred to him. The novel "Moby Dick, or the White Whale" describes adventures and the sea. It would seem that everything is as usual, but this is exactly what we expect when we pick up Melville’s book. After all, not only was he a romantic, thanks to him others also become dreamers. And this is what we lack so much today.
Melville, like all romantics, does not reveal the inner world of the heroes, their experiences, moods through external manifestations. Therefore, in all spheres - epic, lyrical and dramatic - he has a lot of rhetoric, the live conversation of people takes on a touch of bookish speech, in which there are many archaisms and pathetic metaphors. With all this, the work, reminiscent of a symphony in its masterful orchestration, amazes with the harmony of different tonalities in the melody of the language, the harmony of regularly changing rhythms.
In Melville's system of artistic means, humor, of varying colors, occupies a significant place. The novel contains the “boastful” dialogue traditional for American folklore - with rough, broad, “giant” metaphors; there is humor in a comic situation, humor as oratorical technique, witty colloquial speech , bitter humor that approaches irony, humor in which sadness and despair are felt. The variety of shades and the very presence of humor in a tragic work makes it even more impressive and close to the reader’s heart.
By creating a maritime legend from phenomena of American social and spiritual life, Melville is not just imagining. He uses facts and events from the life of coastal settlements. The chapel he talks about actually existed, just as there was a preacher who served as the prototype for Father Mapple.
The image of the ocean in Moby Dick is one of the most “romantic” and most significant. You can hear echoes of Natty’s bitter bewilderment in it Bumpo, the speech of the old Mohican over the grave of Uncas , the tragic fate of Thester Prynne, the demonically mysterious " Nevermore " and Bryant's.
All researchers agree that Melville intended the Pequod with its international crew as a symbolic embodiment of America. At the same time, few people paid attention to one significant detail: the fate of the Pequod and its crew is in the hands of three New England Quakers - Captain Ahab, his first mate Starbuck and the owner of the ship Bildad . It depends on them how the Pequod will be equipped , what direction and goal it will choose, and what the final result of the voyage will be. Each of the mentioned characters in the novel is not just a specific character, but at the same time a symbol that occupies an important place in the picture of the tragic voyage of the Pequod .
Moby Dick is a kind of encyclopedia of American romanticism. Here in a generalized form there are thousands of individual observations and discoveries concerning the development of American bourgeois democracy and American social consciousness. These discoveries and observations were made by writers and poets who were Melville's predecessors. Here is presented in a concentrated form the united protest of the American romantic thought against bourgeois-capitalist progress in its national American forms.
Parrington was right when he wrote about Melville: “If his contemporaries had not considered him a madman, if the destructive meaning of his philosophy had reached them, what a cry they would have raised, demanding the blood of the blasphemer who dared to desecrate their sacred idols. After all, he sought to raze to the ground all the barriers with which they fenced themselves off from everything ugly that their age had created. In his contempt for the material ideals of his time, he surpassed Thoreau himself. To disdainfully turn away from the victorious achievements of one's contemporaries, to pour contempt on the fruits of the industrial revolution and the romantic gospel of progress - this was unheard of blasphemy! But what did Melville have in common with bourgeois America?
Melville summed up the many years of efforts of romantic thought and came to the important conclusion that the inhumane forces directing the social development of America act not from without, but from within. They are rooted in the very nature of bourgeois society, in its consciousness, in its moral principles. Hence, a new task arose for American literature: the study of social mores, their historical nature, current state and prospects for development.
Returning from oblivion in the 2nd third of the 20th century, Moby Dick firmly became one of the most textbook works of American literature. The most famous illustrator of Moby Dick was the artist Rockwell Kent. A descendant of G. Melville, who works in the genres of electronic music, pop, rock and punk, took a pseudonym in honor of the white whale - Moby. The world's largest coffee chain, Starbucks, also borrowed its name and logo motif from the novel.

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