An Analysis Of Walt Whitman's Song Of Myself

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Bennett (2005) pairs Walt Whitman and Frances Ellen Watkins. The former is the most famous poet of the “American Renaissance” and the latter, “an African American woman who has been remembered, if at all, as the author of postbellum dialect poetry and the late-nineteenth-century novel Iola Leroy” (M. Bennett 45). Although the two figures may seem to different to compare, they share “common discursive terrain based on their consuming interest in the intersection between the private bodies of the nation’s inhabitants and the public democratic body of which they were a part—a relationship highlighted and troubled by the struggle over slavery”. Both poets extend “formal democracy to the realm of body politics and control over one’s own sexuality”…show more content…
The three writers live in the same historical context and respond to the same sociopolitical issues: the necessity of redefining American identity in the nineteenth century, the serious problem of slavery, and the increasing industrialization of American society. The author works on the connection between literature and social and political issues.
Walker (2003) juxtaposes Whitman and Li-Young Lee (1957), an American poet born in Jakarta to Chinese parents. The author analyzes “Song of Myself” and “The City in Which I Love You” (1990). According to the author, the point of difference between the two poets is the individual’s ability to connect with the society. The relationship between the individual self and the community changed in America. During Whitman’s time that relationship was possible. It is celebrated in Leaves. But, in contemporary America various obstacles destroy the relationship. Lee describes the latter.
Rowshan Zamir (2000) compares Whitman with Sepehri. Innovation, personal style, freedom from rhyme and meter, new poetic diction and musicality are among the points of similarity. The author believes that the two poets employ stream of consciousness technique and that they are impressionist writers. Both are influenced by Eastern philosophy. Every day subjects and common ‘unpoetic’ language is among the points of
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“While Whitman served originally as a perfect foil for a young artist trying to plant roots in a country divorced from his American heritage, the poet finally became exalted in the eyes of a mature Eliot” (88). “Eliot 's cultural commentary in the 1930s and 40s, which sought to create a society united around certain religious and social doctrines so as to avoid the ‘chaos of liberal democracy’” is in contrast to Whitman’s idea of a democratic society. The former’s “need for order in his art, religion, and society” contrasts with the latter 's “apparent ease around chaos” (87). There are points of similarity too. “Successful experimentation with dramatic, poetic personas in the first person as well as important, albeit very distinct innovations on the long poem as a form” are among the similarities of the two poets. Furthermore, “both posited a vision of poetic history in which readers played an essential role”
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