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Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass: A Poetic Paradox in Search of American Individualism
Högskolan Väst, Institutionen för individ och samhälle, Avd för utbildningsvetenskap och språk.
2017 (engelsk)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 poäng / 15 hpOppgave
Abstract [en]

The influence of Ralph Waldo Emerson on Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass is well known; equally well known are the traces of the Transcendentalist philosophy concerning nature. But Whitman expands upon both these influences as he developed his own individualism based on solidarity rather than independence. Whitman's take on individualism permeates all parts of Leaves of Grass, including the aesthetics. The aesthetics were up for much contemporary debate as the book seemed to lack traditional poetic structure and form. However, this was not the case as this study shows. In light of the sociopolitical climate in America when Leaves of Grass was first published, there was a demand for change from within literary circles. This need to create a new American spirit was called for by Emerson among others. Leaves of Grass was the response. In his book of poetry, Whitman develops a new American spirit with the intention of encouraging the American people to seek individual solitude; although, in this innovative individualism there is a paradox revealed: one must connect with each other and find social belonging at the same time as being self-reliant to have true liberating individualism. Also, the aesthetics in Leaves of Grass does show traces of traditional structure. However, the form is altered to represent Whitman's new innovative individualism. Thus, this study shows that the influences of Emerson and the transcendentalists are evident, but Whitman develops his own individualism in support of America, and in this lies a paradox. Whitman's first-person "I" becomes a representation of this paradox in Whitman's individualism, as well as a symbol for his solidarity towards his people: the united American people.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
2017. , s. 31
Emneord [en]
Literature study, Emerson
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-11746Lokal ID: EON200OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-11746DiVA, id: diva2:1147558
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Tilgjengelig fra: 2017-10-06 Laget: 2017-10-06 Sist oppdatert: 2017-10-07bibliografisk kontrollert

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