Walt Whitman: An Omnisexual Poet

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The homosexual themes displayed in Walt Whitman’s works, especially in his most famous collection of poems Leaves of Grass, raise the question of his own sexuality. Many of his poems depicted affection and sexuality in a simple, personal manner, causing nineteenth century Americans to view them as pornographic and obscene. Based on this poetry, Whitman is usually assumed to be homosexual, or at least bisexual. However, this assumption does not account for major influences of his writing such as the shift from transcendentalism to realism and the American Civil War. After considering these factors, it can be concluded that Whitman’s poems were not intended to set apart a few homosexual men, but to bring all men and women together.…show more content…
Walt Whitman’s poetry is sometimes seen as a continuation of other historical works; he is simply one in a long line of people sharing the same ideas of homosexuality but conveying them at different times.
Walt Whitman was raised during the American movement of Transcendentalism, a philosophy developed during the late 1820s and early 1830s (Folsom & Price, 1998). Transcendentalism described a very simple idea: all people, men and women equally, have knowledge about the world and themselves that goes beyond, or transcends, the senses. This knowledge comes through imagination and intuition, rather than logic and what one can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch. American transcendentalists in the nineteenth century celebrated individualism and self-reliance. They took stands on equality and education, and criticized organized religion and social institutions (Transcendentalism, 2008). Transcendentalists hoped that America would become a place where imagination was superior to reason, creativity was superior to theory, and action was superior to contemplation. They believed that by transcending limits people could reach amazing heights.
Realism was another movement that began to develop after Transcendentalism was established. It described the simple idea that reality exists independent of the observer. It included depicting society and contemporary

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