"I Dote On Myself"

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Context: Parts of this long poem reveal in Whitman an egoism, a sensuality, and an obsession with sex; but these qualities do not exist for themselves–they are only part of Whitman's joyful, mystical relationship to creation, a relationship so direct and intense that he perceives it in physical as well as spiritual terms. When he declares that he "dotes" on himself, he is glorying in the wonder of life as it is exemplified in his body and in his psychology. Far from being a biological examination of life's phenomena, Whitman's perception is a pure and childlike reveling in the fact that life exists and that he is part of it.

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I dote on myself, there is that lot of me and all so luscious,Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,Nor the cause of friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friendshipI take again.

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