How do these samples of Whitman’s poetry reflect the ideas about Whitman and Transcendentalism that I have presented to you in my lesson?
Whitman and Transcendentalism
In early nineteenth century, there were developed a philosophical, political and American literary movement known as Transcendentalism; it was controlled and managed by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Walt Whitman was not among the transcendentalist, but the movement motivated his career. It has been noted that Whitman often referred to Emerson in most of his work. In his first poetry collection ‘Leaves of Grass’ that he released in the year 1855 he says that “I am the poet that Emerson had been waiting for.” Moreover, Emerson had responded positively towards his first self-published work. He said, “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.”
Also, there are so many transcendental themes in Whitman’s work. He believed much on nature and individuality. The fact that he based most of his work on transcendentalism made Emerson like him. In one of his most famous poems “Song of Myself” he uses the word “Myself” as the title of the poem. It shows individualism that is also the main theme in the poem. It also reflects individual spirit that also emulated by transcendentalists.
In “Leaves of Grass” Whitman continues to address one of the favorite themes of the transcendentalists. It mostly emphasized on nature and hence leading to a comment from Emerson who says that “I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed” Whitman wanted people to understand nature …
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