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Song of Myself (A poem by Walt Whitman) I found this poem in The Norton Anthology American Literature vol C - Research Paper Example

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His work is read all over the world to this very day. His individualism and rugged romanticism is as relevant to today’s world as it was to the world of the 19th century. This was a changing time and Whitman saw…
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Song of Myself (A poem by Walt Whitman) I found this poem in The Norton Anthology American Literature vol C
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Download file to see previous pages ibilities for poetry in America and he did this largely through his most famous poem “Song of Myself.” This extraordinary poem has had a lingering influence on American letters. It is a fascinating and extraordinary work.
In the late nineteenth century, when Whitman came into the full flower of his poetic powers, America was a changing country. Its economy was growing at a massive rate, its population was expanding. The country had once and for all thrown off many of the vestiges of its colonial past. For example, there was very little class system. America was a land of opportunity, of rugged individualism. The motto of the country was that if you worked hard, you would be able to do anything you wanted to. The cities were growing, industry was booming, and in New York City, Walt Whitman was finally becoming the poet to tell the story.
But America was not developing in a vacuum. European ideas had great influence in America. In particular, the early 19th century had left a legacy of romanticism which was still waiting to be transformed into something more, to be transitioned to the next stage. As one critic has written:
Politically the time was ripe. The 18th century left a heritage of optimism about mans possibilities and perfectability. The lofty ideals of democracy asserted the value of individuals, regardless of class, and education. Of course, these values primarily applied to white males. In fact, tensions were building which cried out for creative release. Inequality, not equality was the rule for many, especially women and slaves. The clash of these realities with the idealistic rhetoric led writers to take extremes, championing individualism yet also seeing the darker sides of a fragmenting society (Woodlief).
Whitman was ready to take these discrete elements and make something new of them. He was a nobody, a dreamer, a watcher, but he also had a powerful gift for speech and poetry which would make him famous all over the world. He self-published ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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