Defining The American Poet Through Leaves Of Grass : Walt Whitman

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nathan Reed
Andrew Walker
02 August 2015
Defining the American Poet through Leaves of Grass: Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman 's Leaves of Grass define the aspects of democratic poetry. Early reviews of Leaves of Grass claim that Whitman is the original American poet. This is due to how Whitman practices the democratic view of human equality. For example, if we take a look at a review published in the New York Daily Times that was written in 1856, less than a year after leaves of grass was published, the author claims about Whitman “We are much mistaken if, after all, he does not yet contribute something to American literature which shall awaken wonder.” The reviewer recognized early on of Whitman’s genius and was able to predict Whitman’s influence on American poetry. Charles Dana of the New York Daily Times writes a review of Leaves of Grass in July of 1855, just months after its first publication. In the review Dana states “He vouchsafes, before introducing us to his poetry, to enlighten our benighted minds as to the true function of the American poet.”(Dana, Charles A. "Review of Leaves of Grass (1855)This observation, suggests that in American politics, culture, and prior literary sources we were missing this American vision. By analyzing the democracy in Walt Whitman’s poetry it is important to first analyze the origins of democracy. Language in the reviews of Leaves of Grass in the mid-nineteenth-century reflect a sense of nostalgia. Society was nostalgic
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