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Main page » Non-Fiction » An Introduction to Walt Whitman

An Introduction to Walt Whitman


Alongside close readings of the major texts, chapters on Whitman's biography, the history and culture of his time, and the critical reception of his work provide a comprehensive understanding of Whitman and of how he has become such a central figure in the American literary canon.


- A jargon-free, clearly written and organised introduction for students

- Close readings of the major poems with full information about their context and reception

- Guide to further reading provides a clear guide to the field of Whitman studies





- Youth and literary apprenticeship (1819-1850)

- The emergence of a poet (1851-1860)

- The war and its aftermath (1861-1873)

- The period of reflection and decline (1873-1892)

2.Historical and cultural context

- Democracy

- The body

- The land

- The culture

3.Poetry before the Civil War

- 1855:’Song of myself ’

- Other poems dating form the 1855 Leaves of Grass

- 1856: poems of sexuality and the body

- 1856: poems of the earth

- 1856: ‘Crossing Brooklyn Ferry’

- 1860: Sea-Drift Poems

- 1860: gendered clusters- ‘Children of Adam’ and ‘Calamus’

4.Poetry after the Civil War

- Elegiac poems

- The emergence of an image

- Minor poetic modes

5.Prose works

- The 1855 preface

- Democratic Vistas

- Specimen Days

6.Critical reception



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