Bartram, the Seminoles, and the Romantics
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Bartram's unabashed depiction of the Seminoles as a people free from the trappings of modern civilization had a lasting effect on the imaginations of American and European Romantics, from Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Henry David Thoreau. Coleridge drew from the
Travels, most famously, in his critical essays on the poetic imagination. He also based passages from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "Kubla Kahn" on Bartram's lush descriptions of the Florida landscape. Wordsworth and Coleridge shared copies of the
Travels and praised its merits. The French Romantic René de Chateaubriand
likewise drew heavily on Bartram's imagery and ideas in his Native American
The American Romantics may have first re-discovered Bartram through the British, but by 1849 Thoreau was enthusiastically citing Seminole busk ceremonies, after Bartram, as an anti-dote to American
Bartram Southeastern 31-2, Fagin 128-200.