New PDF release: A Political Companion to Walt Whitman (Political Companions

By John E. Seery

ISBN-10: 0813126541

ISBN-13: 9780813126548

The works of Walt Whitman were defined as masculine, female, postcolonial, homoerotic, city, natural, targeted, and democratic, but arguments concerning the quantity to which Whitman may or can be thought of a political poet haven't begun to be totally faced. a few students forget Whitman's knowing of democracy, insisting on keeping apart his own works from his political works. A Political significant other to Walt Whitman is the 1st full-length exploration of Whitman's works in the course of the lens of political conception. Editor John E. Seery and a set of favorite theorists and philosophers discover the political wisdom of Whitman's poetry and prose, studying his religion within the strength of people, his demand a revolution in literature and political tradition, and his trust within the risk of mixing heroic individualism with democratic justice. A Political better half to Walt Whitman reaches past literature into political idea, revealing the ideology at the back of Whitman's demand the emergence of yankee poets of democracy.

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Extra info for A Political Companion to Walt Whitman (Political Companions to Great American Authors)

Example text

These are the rights that individuals have as persons, and that the political system of democracy exists in order to 19 20 George K ateb protect, and also to embody in its workings. Democratic individuality is what rights-based individualism in a democracy could eventually become, once the political separation from the Old World was complete; and had already become, to some degree, in their time. I see the Emersonians as trying to encourage the tendency to democratic individuality, to urge it forward so that it may express itself ever more confidently and therefore more splendidly.

The model is sexual cruising—momentary intensities, which are a sort of connectedness that is in the same family of sentiments as sympathy. If what I have just said is too glib, consider, instead, some lines (from “A Song of the Rolling Earth”) that give one of Whitman’s best definitions of sympathy: I swear I begin to see love with sweeter spasms than that which responds love, It is that which contains itself, which never invites and never refuses. Another lesson that Whitman teaches is that the composite individual will live for itself in a manner greatly different from the self-absorption of nondemocratic cultures.

Is the lesson of Nature. ” They seem to locate individuality in each person’s pro- 36 George K ateb found and permanent difference rather than in the flight from fixed identity and toward the generosities of perception and sympathy. Whitman had been reading Mill’s On Liberty. The first paragraph of “Democratic Vistas” refers to it. I think, however, that Mill’s great (third) chapter on individuality may contaminate Whitman’s thinking. He combines Mill’s notion of the individual as exceptional, as eccentric (Whitman’s word is “idiocratic”) with his own belief in a substratum; but all the while he is doing his real work, which is to vivify the genuinely democratic idea that an individual should try not to acquire or retain an identity (in the wrong spirit).

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A Political Companion to Walt Whitman (Political Companions to Great American Authors) by John E. Seery


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