Stephanie Solanki, 10/24/12

Today in Seminar, we looked at different types of books and music. I thought it was interesting that the times influenced the arts, and the arts influenced the times. This is zeitgeist, an idea we have discussed in class many times. The nineteenth century was when the romantic art period took place. Books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights were written in which the ethos is very romantic. In 1848, many revolutions took place because there was a sense of nationality. Afterwards, the rise of the middle class let the people enjoy the arts more. People were also trying to find their purpose as individuals. People wanted to find their place in the nature, or in the world. This was an age where people examined the dark side of human nature; some of the most famous books that came out of this period are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein. The romantic era was the very beginning of the study of psychology. In the 1880s, the Civil War had already occurred in the US. The economy has shifted from the farmland to the cities. The gentle and graceful southern class structure has now gone away. The industrial labor in America rises up and there is glory in that. The people now feel like they are downtrodden. This was a shift towards realism.

Walt Whitman falls in between realism and romanticism. For example, in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” he talks about a very real place, the Brooklyn Bridge, but he talks about it very deeply and romantically. He talks about the commonality of humanity throughout the ages. He ennobles the experience of riding the ferry. Whitman elevates the new industrial experiences of the society and economy in America. He shows an idealized America; “by the sweat of their brows, the average American is raising up his country.” The ideas of Abraham Lincoln are embodied in words by Walt Whitman.

In “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” Whitman creates a double landscape. This is so interesting to me because I never thought that this poem could create a picture of something as if it was on a stage. I only thought that a work that was meant to be performed on stage could be create an image like that.

I thought that the rocking pattern was very interesting. This pattern was created by the repetition of certain words in the poem. This makes a comforting feeling. Repetitiveness in any art form is very soothing. When we were listening to the song “Hard Rains Are A-Falling” by Bob Dylan, I looked up the guitar chords. It was the same three chords, D, A, and G, over and over again. These simple and straight-forward chords contrast the depth of the song. I thought this was so interesting, and I can’t wait to study more about how times have affected the arts.


2 thoughts on “Stephanie Solanki, 10/24/12

  1. Swathi: Good for you for looking up the guitar chords for Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and noting their simplicity. We’ve talked in class before about how, if one element of an artwork (or a piece of music) is foregrounded — in this case, the magnificent poetry of the lyrics — then the other elements — here, the melody and the chords — will tend to be simple or minimal.

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