Comparing Walt Whitman's Life And Work

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Part 1: Whitman This was the era where America was trying to make its own form of poetry. It had previously been influenced by English poetry. “But surely, many reasoned, a nation without its own poets and poetry could not be a real nation,” (pgs. 937-938). He was one of those poets that solved that problem. America was also going through its own reform, or series of major changes. Slavery was abolished, there were more writers, and there was a civil war. Whitman is unique and original because his work was new and individually for him. His first edition of Leaves of Grass, while achieving some positive reviews, returned mostly negatives. It seemed to be very controversial. “But most early reviewers fiercely condemned Whitman’s iconoclastic approach to form and content,” (pg. 943). In Rufus Griswold’s review, he said, “It is impossible to imagine how any man’s fancy could have conceived of such a mass of stupid filth,” (pg. 943). Only a few, including Emerson, who “warmly greeted the appearance of the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which he called ‘the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced,’” …show more content…

“Of the nearly 1,800 poems she wrote by the time of her death in 1886, Dickinson published only a handful in periodicals,” (pg. 942). “As unalike as they were, Whitman and Dickinson were united by the radical differences between their poetry and virtually all of the other poetry written during the period,” (pg. 943). She also violated certain laws of poetry, especially regarding religion. “Nonetheless, as she no doubt recognized, if Dickinson had sought a wider audience, for her poetry she, too, would have faced stiff resistance from critics,” (pg. 943). “Indeed, if her poetry had ever been read by Griswold, the self-styled arbiter of poetic taste in the United Sates, he would have no doubt have rejected it almost as forcefully as he rejected Leaves of Grass. (pg.

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