Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

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Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

Table of contents

1. Introduction……………………………………………………………………………2
2. Whitman’s position in American literature………………………………………2
3. Whitman’s poetry before the civil war…………………………………...............3
4. Lincoln’s death – a turning point for Whitman………………………………….6
5. Walt Whitman’s four poems on the American nation’s grief…………………7 5.1 Hush 'd Be the Camps To-day…………………………………………………..7 5.2. When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom 'd…………………………………7 5.3 O Captain! My Captain!................................................................................8 5.4 This Dust Was Once the Man…………………………………………………10
6. Summary……………………………………………………………………………..10
7.
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This poem is a prototype for Whitman’s pre-war writing style. He published his long poems with their innovative catalogue-style, a frequent stylistic use of enumeration and anaphora.
Great examples for Whitman’s catalogue-like listings can be found in one of his early poems, Starting From Paumanok (Whitman 1871-72), which was published in several editions of Leaves of Grass. The visual image of the following example is characteristic for Whitman’s early writing style.

“[…]
43 I will make the songs of passion, to give them their way, And your songs, outlaw 'd offenders—for I scan you with kindred eyes, and carry you with me the same as any.

44 I will make the true poem of riches, To earn for the body and the mind whatever adheres, and goes forward, and is not dropt by death.

45 I will effuse egotism, and show it underlying all—and I will be the bard of personality; And I will show of male and female that either is but the equal of the other; And sexual organs and acts! do you concentrate in me —for I am determin 'd to tell you with courageous clear voice, to prove you illustrious; And I will show that there is no imperfection in the present—and can be none in the
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