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Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

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Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

Page 1 of 13
Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

Table of contents

1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………2 2. Whitman’s position in American literature………………………………………2 3. Whitman’s poetry before the civil war…………………………………...............3 4. Lincoln’s death – a turning point for Whitman………………………………….6 5. Walt Whitman’s four poems on the American nation’s grief…………………7 5.1 Hush'd Be the Camps To-day…………………………………………………..7 5.2. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd…………………………………7 5.3 O Captain! My Captain!................................................................................8 5.4 This Dust Was Once the Man…………………………………………………10 6. Summary……………………………………………………………………………..10 7. Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………12

Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

1. Introduction

Walt Whitman is one of the great poets in American literature. His variety of poetic works has influenced generations of writers. A remarkable fact is that Walt Whitman’s famous poem O Captain! My Captain! (Whitman 1865b) even found its way into modern film art in the film Dead Poets Society. This shows how relevant Whitman’s poetry is still today. This term paper will concentrate on the influence Abraham Lincoln had on Walt Whitman and his poetic writing style. In particular, focus will be put on Walt Whitman’s four poems on Abraham Lincoln’s death. Differences to Whitman’s former poetic works will be illuminated in short, as well as differences within the four death poems. Due to its exceptional position, the poem O Captain! My Captain! will be examined more detailed.

2. Whitman’s position in American literature

Walt Whitman is considered to be one the most important writers in American literature. He is famous for his extraordinary writing style and has gradually become an icon of American exceptionalism. Whitman regarded the fast developing America as the new nation out of nations. In the years before the...