Democratic Vistas Additional Summary

Walt Whitman


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Further Reading

Aspiz, Harold. Walt Whitman and the Body Beautiful. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1980. Considers Democratic Vistas a mature reflection of Whitman’s feminism: his belief in women’s potential, their maternal and physical capabilities, and the need for female influence on society.

Erkkila, Betsy. Whitman the Political Poet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Examines Whitman’s politics. Argues that Democratic Vistas moves toward socialism and affirms a more feminized, cooperative society.

Holloway, Emory. Whitman: An Interpretation in Narrative. New York: Biblo and Tannen, 1969. Considers Democratic Vistas a transitional work moving the poet from despair to hope, from physicality to spirituality, and from individuality to nationality in his writing.

Kummings, Donald D., ed. A Companion to Walt Whitman. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2006. Provides information on Whitman’s life, the cultural and historical contexts of his works, his use of language, his writing style, and the reception and legacy of his writings. An essay by Robert Leigh Davis provides an analysis of Democratic Vistas.

Mancuso, Luke. “Reconstruction Is Still in Abeyance: Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas and the Federalizing of National Identity.” In The Strange Sad War Revolving: Walt Whitman, Reconstruction, and the Emergence of Black Citizenship, 1865-1876. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1997. Argues that the essay is “symptomatic of the larger cultural debate” in post-Civil War America about granting voting rights to African Americans.

Rosenblatt, Louise. “Whitman’s Democratic Vistas and the ’New Ethnicity.’” In Making Meaning with Texts: Selected Essays. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 2005. Examines the work from the perspective of reader-response theory, arguing that Whitman shows his readers how men and women can accept themselves and others for their own uniqueness.

Scholnick, Robert J. “The American Context of Democratic Vistas.” In Walt Whitman: Here and Now, edited by Joann P. Krieg. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1985. Considers the response of Democratic Vistas to the publication of Thomas Carlyle’s Shooting Niagra: And After (1867), other period reactions to Carlyle, and the pessimistic essays on similar themes by painter Eugene Benson.

Snyder, John. The Dear Love of Man: Tragic and Lyric Communion in Walt Whitman. Paris: Mouton, 1975. Argues that Democratic Vistas offers literature as a means of giving spiritual meaning to America’s corrupt and materialistic society. Whitman’s vision is both tragic concerning the present and idealistic about the future.