Criticism: Walt Whitman
SOURCE: Wellek, René. “American Criticism.” In A History of Modern Criticism: 1750-1950, Vol. 4: The Later Nineteenth Century, pp. 191-200. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965.
[In the following excerpt, Wellek explains Whitman's call for an American poetry that was intended for the masses and was free from the restraints of tradition in both its style and its content.]
WALT WHITMAN (1819-1892)
Walt Whitman called for a poetry of the future, for a clean break with the past, for democratic poetry written for the masses about the masses, for poetry inspired by modern science and technological progress, for poetry freed from the shackles...
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