2Chronology 1819 Born May 31 at West Hills, Huntington Township, Long Island, New York1823 Family moved to Brooklyn, New York.1825–30 Attended public school in Brooklyn.1830–31 Office boy in lawyer’s office, then doctor’s; thenprinter’s apprentice.1832–36 Various jobs: printer’s devil, handyman.1836–41 Schoolteacher in Long Island.
318481841–47 Reporter and editor for various newspapers. Editor (1846) of Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Published (1842) Franklin Evans, or the Inebriate, a tract.1848 Discharged from the Eagle. Visited New Orleans (worked on New Orleans newspaper) and traveled on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.1849 Editor of the Brooklyn Freeman, a journal.
41850–54 Part-time journalist 1850–54 Part-time journalist. Carpenter and house builder in Brooklyn (with father).1855 First edition of Leaves of Grass published in July. It contained twelve poems and a prose preface.1856 Second edition of Leaves of Grass, containing twenty additional poems.Around 1854
51862–63 Went to Virginia to attend brother George, who had been wounded in Civil War, Did volunteer work in government hospitals.1863–73 Lived most of the time in Washington, D.C. Worked for the government.1864 Drum-Taps published.1867 Fourth edition of Leaves of Grass.
61871 Fifth edition of Leaves of Grass 1871 Fifth edition of Leaves of Grass. Also published Democratic Vistas (a prose pamphlet).1873 Suffered mild paralytic stroke. Moved to Camden, New Jersey. Mother died.1876 Sixth edition of Leaves of Grass.1879 Traveled to St. Louis to visit his brother Jeff.1872
71881 Visited Boston to prepare the seventh edition of Leaves of Grass, published that same year. 1882 Specimen Days published.1884 Bought house in Camden, where he lived the rest of his life.1888 November Boughs published.1889 Pocket-size edition of Leaves of Grass published for his seventieth birthday.1887 with Nigel and Catherine
81891–92 Final (“deathbed”) edition of Leaves of Grass. 1892 Died March 26. Buried in Harleigh Cemetery, Camden1891
9The Form & Themes of Whitman’s Poetry Whitman’s poems are used to :Explore his own selfEulogize democracyExpress thoughts on lifeThemes in Whitman’s Poems:The SelfThe Body and the SoulNatureTimeMysticism (Cosmic Consciousness)DeathPersonalismDemocracy● Musical Elements1.repetition & reiterative2.Opera elements● Language1. sounds2. “ing” form3. archaic expressions4. colloquial5. foreign languages● Imagery (figurative use of language)● Symbolism
10Whitman’s Achievement As a poet and prophet – influence in American letters and modern poets.As a symbolist-- influence in EuropeEmily Dickinson, Hart Crane, MarianneMoore …As a stylist– Allen GinsbergOlympian stature
12Song of Myself 1855 No Title 1856 A Poem of Walt Whitman, an American Changes made indicates the more profound meaning of the poem from time to time.
13Song of Myself (2) The search for self Parting civilization Joining natureUnion of body and soulAwaken to universalityPerceiving all lifeCelebrating equality of body-soulCosmic consciousnessIdentify self with all wondersAcknowledging the new religionDivinity and equality in menCalling and waiting for all to be with him
14The Search For SELF What I Assume You Shall Assume Observing a spear of summer grass……Parting civilization -“Creeds and schools in abeyance.. ( )”“Houses and rooms are full of perfumes..( )”Joining Nature -“I will go to the bank by the woods to become undisguised and naked.. ( )”“Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems.. ( )”
15The Search For SELF What I Assume You Shall Assume Union of soul and body –“I believe in you my soul…loafe with me on the grass..the hum of your valved voice..( )”“How you settle your head athwart my hips..parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunge your tongue to my bare-stript heart..felt my beard…held my feet..( )”“the hand of God is the promise of my own..the spirit of God is the brother of my own..a kelson of the creation is love…( )”
16Awaken to Universality Perceiving all lifeCelebrating equality of body and soulCosmic consciousnessIdentify self with all wonders
17Awaken to Universality (2) Perceiving all life“A child said What is the grass? ..( )”“..to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier..( )”“I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash’d babe..not contain’d between my hat and boot…( )”“..these tend inward to me..I tend outward to them..such as it is to be of theses more or less I am…( )”-Catalog showing presence in all walks of life, list of daily scenes ( )
18Awaken to Universality (3) Celebrating equality of body and soul“A learner with the simplest, a teacher of the thoughtfullest…of every hue and caste am I , of every rank and religion… ( )”“This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is… ( )”“I play not marches for accepted victors only…for conquer’d and slain persons… ( )”“This is the meal equally set..for the wicked ..as the righteous..I make appointments with all..the thief..heavy-lipp’d slave… ( )”“I am the poet of the Body and .. the Soul …of goodness ..of wickedness..( )”
19Awaken to Universality (4) Cosmic consciousness – full of God’s spirit“Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son, Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking, and breeding, No sentimentalist, no stander above men and women or apart from them, no more modest than immodest…( )”“I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms…( )”“With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds..speech is the twin of my vision…( )”
20Awaken to Universality (5) Identify Self with all wonders“Now I will do nothing but listen, to accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it… ( )”“I hear sounds running together..I lose my breath..feel the puzzle of puzzles..that we call Being…( )”“Is this then a touch? Quivering me to a new identity…( )”“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars…( )”- Limitless by time and space witnessing wonders
21Acknowledging the New Religion Divinity and equality in men“The friendly and flowing savage..men and women accept and desires him..behavior lawless as snow-flakes..words as simple as grass…( )”“I am he bringing help for the sick..heard what was said of the universe..admitting they were alive and did the work of their days..fill out better in myself..bestowing them freely on each man and woman…( )”“I know perfectly well my own egotism..would fetch you whoever you are flush with myself…( ) ”
22Calling and Waiting for All to Be With Him Individuality of SELF“Not I, not anyone else can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself. It is not far, it is within reach…( )”“I answer that I cannot answer, you must find it for yourself…( )”“The boy I love, the same becomes a man not through derived power, but in his own right. ( )”“If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles…( )”
23Techniques & Themes A. Techniques: Workings of mind Scenes of life- catalog => in search of SELFB. Themes:Continuity and divinity of life, man, natureExperience self with sensation for natureAchieve highest fulfillment by listening to all and exploration of self.
24Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking Background knowledge of the poemWhat is the poem about?The poem is about a young boy’s transition to a man, more importantly, a poet. It was a memory of the poet when he was a young boy.Skill
25The poem was first published under the title, “A Child’s Reminiscence” in years later, in 1860, the title changed into “A Word out of the Sea.” The present edition “From Sea-Drift Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” was a newly revised version in 1881.
26Skills in the PoemRecalling memory of the poet himself (self experience of the poet)Repetition of words and phrases (see examples on P1038, the 4th stanza and 8th stanza)Frequently uses of the “ing” formPersonification (see example on P1042)
27There was a Child Went Forth Background Knowledge of the poemWhat is the poem about?This poem is a great example of Whitman’s philosophy. He enjoys learning from nature. The poem shows us how a person can learns and grows from nature.
28Similarities in the Two Poems The Growth of consciousnessThe ideas of circulation and endlessnessNature objects