How did Walt Whitman develop his writing ?  

Walt Whitman developed his writing by experimenting with various genres and styles. Once he found a preferred form and his central themes, Whitman developed his writing further by sticking to them.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

To think about how Walt Whitman developed his writing in a biographical sense, it is probably best to search for books that tell about Whitman’s progress as a writer. One such book is Walt Whitman’s America. In David S. Reynolds’s biography of Whitman, he unveils how Whitman’s writing came to be. Whitman did not start out writing the rapturous, long-lined poems that he is now famous for. According to Reynolds, Whitman developed his gregarious style and capacious form by first experimenting with other genres. When Whitman started to write, he wanted to fit in with his era and tried to write poems and stories that were aligned with what was popular at the time, including adventure stories and poems about death.

Another way to think about this question is to consider how Whitman continued to expand his writing once he developed his themes and favored form. If one looks at some of Whitman’s well-known poems—for example, “I Sing the Body Electric” or Song of Myself—one will probably notice similar themes and forms. The lines are often be long, and Whitman often touches on the universal bond among all kinds of humans, as well as the bond between humans and their environment. By focusing on certain themes and mastering a specific poetic style, Whitman developed his signature mode of writing and created a foundation on which the rest of his work could grow.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial