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May 10, 2011

The Genteel Tradition

In the early 19th centry, the new social and economic influences widened the cultural horizens of american society. The first of these was the tendency of the past, the growth of the historic sense. Irving and Cooprt early showed how historical legends could be woven about the familiar landscapes to add richness. The development of historical writing later owed much to Americans who had studied in Germany during the first half of the century.  
They had also participated in the renovation of German scholarship that followed the nationaistic uprising against Napolean.   Thus developed a new “Philosophical” approach to classical antiquity, especiiallu to greece. Textual criticism of the scriptures of Modern Europe drew a brilliant company of younf Americans to german Universities. But there was more in the transaction than scholarship. The american cult of Gothe not only introduced them to complicated emotions but alos led to a prologef controversry on the subject of morality in art. This helped to undermine the genteel tradition and to prepare the way for the eventual acceptance of realism literature.

The genteel tradition envisaged literature through its relation to purely artistic disciplines. Art for art’s sale was ot credo, which aided te artist on his release from certain toboos. A negative approach is seen in their consistent antagonism toward middle class standards. In divergence to the genteel tradition was ‘Bohemian’ protest against the very formal and conventional attitudes of the upper social classes.

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