Walt Whitman American Literature Analysis
When Whitman first thrust Leaves of Grass on an unsuspecting and unresponsive American public, it was clear that he viewed himself as a national bard who would inject something “transcendent and new” into the poetic veins of his country. In the preface, which was strongly influenced by Emerson’s essay “The Poet” (1844), Whitman discussed the kind of American bard he envisioned and the kind of poetry that such a bard would write.
Believing that “Americans of all nations . . . have probably the fullest poetical nature” and that “the United States themselves are essentially the greatest poem,” Whitman’s ideal was a poet whose “spirit responds to his country’s spirit. . . . [H]e incarnates...
(The entire section is 6525 words.)
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