Whitman's Literary Homoeroticism

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In accordance with Foucault’s theory and considering the aforementioned possible issues, this thesis will unravel the depths of Whitman’s literary homoeroticism in the following way: It first of all needs to be determined whether or not the seemingly homoerotic references in five of Whitman’s poems can be read with actual homosexuality in mind, or if they also could be said to be about either female characters or a more platonic kind of love or attraction. Although this poetry was considered atrocious and sinful at the time because of the presence of these features, the possibility of something more akin to the celebration of humanity as a whole, the same way in which the speaker celebrated himself in “Song of Myself” (another instance of Whitman’s infamous poetry not to be discussed in this thesis), should not be excluded without a second thought. Therefore, the question is where to draw that boundary. It ultimately also needs to be examined which parts of these poems were considered so contrived by Whitman’s contemporaries that they felt the need to ban and burn the book, because that is where the boundaries between past and present ideas of sexual immorality start to blur. In order to fulfil this task, the 2013 edition of Signet Classic’s Leaves of Grass will be employed which should be clarified as to prevent any confusion with earlier editions of the same work, the first of which was published in 1855. Through this framework, this thesis aims to prove that through means

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