Walt Whitman

Topics: Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Transcendentalism Pages: 4 (1396 words) Published: April 19, 2013
Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman is considered the Pioneer of a New Poetry. He is important to our literature first of all because he was a great poet. Three of his works such as “ I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing,” “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” and “A Noiseless Patient Spider” will be discussed to show his writing characteristics of a new type of literature, building a bridge between Transcendentalism and Realism. Second, as an artist he has the kind of courage and vision upon which new eras are found. He remains one of our most important poets because he announces and instructs a new age; but he is equally important as a defender of the central American idealism of the past.

In the time period of which Whitman writes, the kind of brilliance which is uncommon sense makes known to him that the time has come for many barriers to fall; barriers to the welfare and the expression of the individual, which he values above all else. Thus, in the advance of the “new” psychology he insists on the unity of the personality and the significant importance of all experience. He celebrates the values of the common, the miracle of the mouse, the wholesome soundness of the calloused hand, the body’s sweat (Agamben). He attempts “to make illustrious” the “procreative urge of the universe,” or humans (Page). On the plane of political thought he is also an apostle of individualism and represents the nineteenth-century projection of Jeffersonian idealism.

Continued from the historical perspective of the time period, in 1855 Whitman is the first voice of the revolution, which after 1870 sweeps over European literature and much later reaches the United States. But now he has in mind his great project. Shaken by the ominous shadows that gather over the country as “ the irrepressible conflict” takes shape in the Mexican War, he conceives of a book to interpret American democratic idealism as he has experienced it (Page). It is to be a poem in a new form with which...
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