Presentation on theme: "V. Literature of the Gilded Age- Poetry American Poetry in 19th C Walt Whitman Emily Dickinson."— Presentation transcript:
V. Literature of the Gilded Age- Poetry American Poetry in 19th C Walt Whitman Emily Dickinson
19th Century Poetry Europe as role model William Cullen Bryant –“Thanatopsis” Henry W. Longfellow –The Song of Hiawatha (Kalevala) –”Paul Revere's Ride” Edgar A. Poe
”Paul Revere’s Ride” Listen my children and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year. He said to his friend, "If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch Of the North Church tower as a signal light,-- One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country folk to be up and to arm."
19th Century Poetry Emerson on poetry & America: "America is a poem in our eyes; its ample geography dazzles the imagination, and it will not wait long for metres."
Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (1855) Develops free verse Emerson’s voice is found
Walt Whitman Born New York (1819) Printer, editor, carpenter, school teacher Travel thru US Publishes Leaves of Grass (1855)
Walt Whitman Enlists Emerson’s aid in publishing Wound dresser in Washington, DC during Civil War Govt jobs from 1865-73 Publishes 9 editions of Leaves of Grass Dies in 1892
The Good Gray Poet Singing Vitality Self America Democracy Physicality Mystical Transcendental Innovation
”Song of Myself” I CELEBRATE myself; And what I assume you shall assume; For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my Soul; I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass.
”Song of Myself” Houses and rooms are full of perfumes—the shelves are crowded with perfumes; I breathe the fragrance myself, and know it and like it; The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it. The atmosphere is not a perfume—it has no taste of the distillation—it is odorless; It is for my mouth forever—I am in love with it; I will go to the bank by the wood, and become undisguised and naked; I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
Beat! Beat! Drums! BEAT! beat! drums!—Blow! bugles! blow! Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force, Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation; Into the school where the scholar is studying; Leave not the bridegroom quiet—no happiness must he have now with his bride; Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, plowing his field or gathering his grain; So fierce you whirr and pound, you drums—so shrill you bugles blow.
WHEN lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d, And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, I mourn’d—and yet shall mourn with ever- returning spring. O ever-returning spring! trinity sure to me you bring; Lilac blooming perennial, and drooping star in the west, And thought of him I love.
Emily Dickinson Other major poetic voice Distinctly different from Whitman
Whitman - Dickinson Well-known Exhuberant National and social concerns Yankee –Innovative Reclusive Reserved Private Puritan background –Innovative
Emily Dickinson Born Amherst, Mass (1830) After college, reclusive, ”eccentric” lifestyle Faith important, but doesn’t join church Never married Own family important Dies in 1886
Dickinson on poetry ”If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”
I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Then there's a pair of us--don't tell! They'd banish us, you know. How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog!
After great pain a formal feeling comes-- The nerves sit ceremonious like tombs; The stiff Heart questions--was it He that bore? And yesterday--or centuries before? The feet, mechanical, go round A wooden way Of ground, or air, or ought, Regardless grown, A quartz contentment, like a stone. This is the hour of lead Remembered if outlived, As freezing persons recollect the snow-- First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.
I like a look of Agony, Because I know it's true -- Men do not sham Convulsion, Nor simulate, a Throe -- The Eyes glaze once -- and that is Death - Impossible to feign The Beads upon the Forehead By homely Anguish strung.
A narrow Fellow in the Grass Occasionally rides-- You may have met Him-- did you not His notice sudden is-- The Grass divides as with a Comb-- A spotted shaft is seen-- And then it closes at your feet And opens further on--
He likes a Boggy Acre A Floor too cool for Corn-- Yet when a Boy, and Barefoot-- I more than once at Noon Have passed, I thought, a Whip lash Unbraiding in the Sun When stooping to secure it It wrinkled, and was gone--
Several of Nature's People I know, and they know me-- I feel for them a transport Of cordiality-- But never met this Fellow Attended, or alone Without a tighter breathing And Zero at the Bone--
Because I could not stop for Death – He kindly stopped for me – The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality. We slowly drove – He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility --
We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess -- in the Ring – We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain – We passed the Setting Sun – Or rather -- He passed Us – The Dews drew quivering and chill – For only Gossamer, my Gown – My Tippet -- only Tulle --
We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground – The Roof was scarcely visible – The Cornice -- in the Ground – Since then -- 'tis Centuries -- and yet Feels shorter than the Day I first surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity --
My life closed twice before its close -- It yet remains to see If Immortality unveil A third event to me So huge, so hopeless to conceive As these that twice befell. Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell.
Dickinson - themes Death Religion Nature Pain Love