No writer is received the same way in any place. Whitman’s reception is a particularly interesting concept because he is so widely embraced as the American Poet. However, in other countries, this is not the case. Whitman’s reception in China, for example, has been a rocky one. Although he is one of the more well-known Western poets, whether he is appreciated or not often depends on the government movement; he has been viewed as “too-Western” and a promoter of capitalism, as well as a poet of the people. In Poland, Whitman is one of the few well-known Western poets specifically because of his promotion of democracy.

I began this project wishing to investigate Whitman’s global reception further, specifically his context within contemporary society and tracking the trends where Whitman was not well-received. I put out several threads on forums and on facebook, expecting varied answers. What I received were several enthusiastic responses, ranging from loving America to appreciating the aesthetics of his poetry.

Because of this, I wish to revise my investigation and instead track the trends of enthusiasm that have sprung because of Whitman. Furthermore, I want to analyze why some of the trends have occurred. Is this because of the way Whitman has been taught? Is it because his ideology has taken a backseat in comparison to the aesthetics of his poetry? Responses from those who dislike or are offended by Whitman are still very much welcome; I would still like to investigate why and again determine if the reasoning is based on Whitman’s decidedly western ideologies or if there is a lack of belief in the quality of his poetry.

In order to do this, I need your help. The “Looking for Whitman” course that I am participating in is an experiment where students attempt to locate and place Whitman in the modern world, specifically within technology and connections with other students in various campuses. I believe that finding my answers through the web, as well as connecting with individuals through their answers envelops the spirit of the course.

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