Explain what Walt Whitman brought to American literature. Explain what Walt Whitman brought to American literature.

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Whitman brought a self-identification with the divine into focus with his poetry, as some of the Transcendentalists attempted to do. Whitman was uniquely capable of expressing his personal, intimate relationship with the "universal" however and this is certainly one reason his poetry is so powerful and is still read as widely as it is today.

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One of the most critical elements that Whitman brought to American Literature was the unabashed love of individualism which merged into love of country.  Whitman speaks clearly to the Transcendentalist spirit which gripped America in the 19th Century.  He extolled the virtues of individual emotion over cold and distant reasoning.  Whitman injected passion into both the love of self and the love of nation.  His articulation of the promises and possibilities of American Democracy have helped to carve out a significant portion of American character and identity.  Whitman's inclusion of American voice, democratic vistas and horizons have become integrated into the psyche of American identity.

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