Whitman the Political Poet

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, 1996 - 360 pages
Recent critical studies have emphasized the formal, mystical, and psychological dimensions of Walt Whitman's art, dwelling mainly upon his Emersonian and Transcendental sources. This study is the first book to undertake a detailed analysis of Whitman's entire work in relation to the political struggles of the 19th century. Erkkila repairs the split between the private and the public, the personal and the political, the poet and history, that has in the past defined the analysis and evaluation of Whitman's work. Her approach combines close reading and historicist analysis, examining his poems as both products and agents of the political culture of his time. Among the topics explored are the ways in which the politics of race, class, gender, capital, technology, western expansion, and war enter into the poetic design of "Leaves of Grass"; the relation between Whitman's (homo)sexual body and the body politic of his poems; and the ways in which the Civil War and its aftermath affected Whitman's artistic ordering and reordering of his work.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

1 A Revolutionary Formation
3
2 The Paradox of the American Republic
25
3 The Poet of Slaves and the Masters of Slaves
44
4 Aesthetics and Politics
68
5 Leaves of Grass and the Body Politic
92
6 The Fractured State
129
7 Democracy and HomoSexual Desire
155
8 The Union War
190
9 Burying President Lincoln
226
10 Who Bridle Leviathan?
240
11 The Poetics of Reconstruction
260
12 Representing America
293
13 How Dangerous How Alive
308
Notes
324
Index
349
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1996)

Betsy Erkkila is at Northwestern University.

Bibliographic information