Essay on Walt Whitman

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Walt Whitman was looked upon as the forerunner of 20th Century poetry, praising democracy, and becoming a proclaimed poet of American democracy. He was known as the "Son of Long Island," and he loved his country and everything about it. (Current, Williams, Freidel- page 292-293). Whitman lived during the time of the Civil War; a fact that increased his patriotism. Whitman was considered one of the most important American Poets of the 19th Century. (Encyclopedia of World Biography- page 249). He influenced the direction of 20th Century poets such as Erza Pound, William Carlos Williams, Carlos Sandberg, and Allen Ginsberg. Whitman praised democracy and spoke of the flesh as well as the spirit. (Encyclopedia of Biography- …show more content…
Sometimes the narrator was the poet himself. (Lowen, Nancy- page 6). In other passages, "I" speaks for the human race, the universe, or a specific character, which was dramatized. Like all Whitman's major poems, "Song of Myself" contained symbols. For example, in the poem he described grass as a symbol of life "the babe of vegetation," "the handkerchief of the Lord." Whitman praised God and nature. He exposed his gentle nature to his fellow man, and in doing so expressed his love of the world. This was a love he grew up with and carried with him everywhere he went. Whitman loved Long Island and it became a major part of his works. (Webster, Orville III- page 122). He held various jobs throughout his life. He was a printing apprentice, journalist, editor, and school teacher. Walt Whitman sold his first story to "The Democratic Review" shortly after leaving his teaching job. This publication was known to pirate literature from Europe to save money, but it also printed the works of Poe, Lowell, Whittier, Hawthorne, as well as other well-known American lyricists. (Webster Orville III- page 123). It was this publication which gave Whitman his first break as a professional writer. The editor of "The Democratic Review," John L. O’Sullivan, was so impressed with Whitman and his work, he bought at least three more stories from Whitman that very same autumn for the

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