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Main page » Non-Fiction » Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry

Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry


In this course we'll explore how Walt Whitman broke with the tyranny of European literary forms to establish a broad, new voice for American poetry. By throwing aside the stolid conventions and clichéd meters of old Europe, Walt Whitman produced a vital, compelling form of verse, one expressive of the nature of his new world and its undiscovered countries, both physical and spiritual, intimate and gloriously public.
Passionate democracy is what Whitman called his invention, and like the inventions of Edison, it would transform not only the practices of its field but also the larger dimensions of American life. Whitman named what it was to be American, he catalogued and indexed and sang and scribed it, and his influence on his contemporaries and his descendants transcends the boundaries of poetry and becomes, in many ways, the story of young America.

Course Syllabus
  • Lecture 1 “Listener up there!”: Whitman Springs Off the Page
  • Lecture 2 The Revolution of the First Edition: Whitman’s Leaves of Grass
  • Lecture 3 Emerson, Whitman, and the Beginnings of an Original American Literature
  • Lecture 4 Manhattan’s Son Rises
  • Lecture 5 Sex Is the Root of It All
  • Lecture 6 Whitman’s Civil War
  • Lecture 7 Banned in Boston: Whitman and Censorship
  • Lecture 8 Glancing Back, Looking Forward: Whitman and the Promise of America
  • Lecture 9 Whitman Among the Moderns
  • Lecture 10 I, Too, Sing America: Black Voices Respond to Whitman
  • Lecture 11 From “Barbaric Yawp” to “Howl”
  • Lecture 12 Whitman, Visual Poetics, and the New York School
  • Lecture 13 Singing the Songs: Whitman’s Impact on Modern American Music
  • Lecture 14 I Stop Somewhere Waiting for You: Whitman’s Enduring Presence
  • 8 hours and 17 mins | ISBN: n/a | MP3 | 359 MB

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Tags: Whitman, American, Passionate, public, democracy, Modern, Poetry, Birth