Poets Are Born Not Made

Topics: Poetry, Walt Whitman, Robert Frost Pages: 8 (2752 words) Published: December 12, 2013
Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree {Davidoff, 199}. American literature has been apart of our history since our settlement. Throughout our history, America has generated many great authors. These authors write works of literature that educate us, entertain us, and empower us. Two great authors that America has generated are Walt Whitman and Robert Frost. In researching these two authors, a question arose. In what ways do the authors, Walt Whitman and Robert Frost, compare andor contrast in the fulfillment of the critical literary theories, psychological and historical? In order to answer this question you have to know the definition of psychological and historical theories. Psychological Critical Theory's definition is a work of literature has done something valuable if it shed light upon the human mind, for example: Hamlet, Crime and Punishment, The Fall. The definition of Historical Critical Theory is a work of literature has done something valuable if it sheds light upon an historic era, for example: Gone with the Wind, Ben Hur. Walt Whitman was considered to be the poet of the people. His unique ˜Leaves of Grass' was new in form and in content. Whitman wrote about his country in a way never done before. At first the little book of strange verse seemed a failure. Emerson, however, recognized its greatness, and now most people agree that it was the first book of truly American poetry. The works of American poet Robert Frost tell of simple things- swinging on a birch tree, stopping by woods on a snowy evening, and the death of a hired man. Behind his work is a deep feeling for life's fundamentals-love, loyalty, and awareness of nature and of God. Walt Whitman and Robert Frost compare and contrast in the fulfillment of the Critical Literary Theories, psychological and historical.

Walter Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, N.Y., on May 31, 1819, the second of six children. When he was four years old, his family moved to Brooklyn, where he attended public school for six years before being apprenticed to a printer. Two years later he went to New York City to work in printing shops, but returned to Long Island in 1835 and taught in country schools. Between 1838-39 he edited a newspaper, the Long-Islander, at Huntington; becoming bored, he went back to New York City to work as a printer and journalist {Doren, 45}. There he enjoyed the theatre, the opera, and always an omnivorous reader. He wrote unoriginal poems and stories for popular magazines and made political speeches, for which Tammany Hall democrats rewarded him with the editorship of various short-lived newspapers. For two years he edited the influential Brooklyn Eagle , but he lost his position for supporting the Free-Soil part {Doren, 51} After a brief sojourn in New Orleans he returned the Brooklyn. While he was in New Orleans he saw the vastness of this country for the first time, and he began to set down in poetry his impressions of the nation and its people. After returning to Brooklyn this is where he tried to start a Free-Soil newspaper. After several years spent at various jobs, including building houses, he began writing a new kind of poetry and thereafter neglected business. No publisher or author's name was on the first edition of ˜Leaves of Grass' in 1855. Whitman printed it himself, and throughout his life he continued to publish expansions of revisions of the work. He sent copies of the first edition to well-known literary men. Some condemned the book, but Ralph Waldo Emerson saw its merit. In the 1856 edition, Whitman printed Emerson's letter of praise, which called the book "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom yet contributed to American literature. {Doren, 58}

Early in the American Civil War Whitman learned that his brother, George, was wounded and in a hospital in Washington, D.C. He found George nearly recovered but saw other soldiers badly in need of care. He stayed...


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