Walt Whitman (1819-1892) - Cengage Learning

As to the poetry: Robert K. Martin's The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry (1979) has brought the controversy about how to interpret the sexuality of Whitman's Leaves into clear focus. His opening chapter on Whitman begins: "Although Whitman intended his work to communicate his homosexuality to his readers, and although homosexual readers have from the very beginning understood his homosexual meanings, most critics have not been willing to take Whitman at his word" (3). Martin's edited volume, The Continuing Presence of Walt Whitman: The Life After the Life (1992), brings together an international array of critics and poets who start from Martin's basic assumption. By their very nature these works set new directions for the continuing discussion of Whitman. Two other critics have taken Whitman "at his word" and assume his homosexuality a given: Michael Moon, Disseminating Whitman: Revision and Corporeality in "Leaves of Grass" (1991), and Byrne R.S. Fone, Masculine Landscapes: Walt Whitman and the Homoerotic Text (1992). In their approaches, all these critics have brought new and valuable insights into the many meanings of Leaves.

Aspiz, Harold. Walt Whitman and the Body Beautiful. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1980.

As to the poetry: Robert K. Martin's The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry (1979) has brought the controversy about how to interpret the sexuality of Whitman's Leaves into clear focus. His opening chapter on Whitman begins: "Although Whitman intended his work to communicate his homosexuality to his readers, and although homosexual readers have from the very beginning understood his homosexual meanings, most critics have not been willing to take Whitman at his word" (3). Martin's edited volume, The Continuing Presence of Walt Whitman: The Life After the Life (1992), brings together an international array of critics and poets who start from Martin's basic assumption. By their very nature these works set new directions for the continuing discussion of Whitman. Two other critics have taken Whitman "at his word" and assume his homosexuality a given: Michael Moon, Disseminating Whitman: Revision and Corporeality in "Leaves of Grass" (1991), and Byrne R.S. Fone, Masculine Landscapes: Walt Whitman and the Homoerotic Text (1992). In their approaches, all these critics have brought new and valuable insights into the many meanings of Leaves.

Leaves of Grass Themes | GradeSaver

Fone, Byrne R.S. Masculine Landscapes: Walt Whitman and the Homoerotic Text. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1992. Little known fact: some say Walt Whitman was the original model for “Dracula” in the novel of the same name by Bram Stoker, a long-time admirer of his.

SparkNotes: Whitman's Poetry : Analysis

So much can be discovered about an era by looking at the literature of its time period. Walt Whitman defined the literature of his era. His poems became America’s poems- his voice America’s voice. He himself even claimed to be that voice. In a time when America was defined by division, he preached a voice of unity, of basic democratic values. He reminded America of its roots, brought back memories of the ideals the country was meant to seek. He raised up the individual, glorified him, made him whole, new, and perfect. America loved the new face he created for them. Walt Whitman opened up so many doors for Americans of all types with his words, and planted the seeds for a new generation. What made his words so powerful? What topics did he explore that inspired the American people so greatly? How was he able to communicate so intimately with the individuals that made up the society around him? A look into some of his prevalent themes, stylistic tendencies of his works, and literary techniques may produce some answers to these questions.

What were some common themes throughout many of walt whitman's poems?