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politics in art

In response to Erkkila’s article, “Whitman in Politics” I must admit that I questioned my own beliefs regarding the mixing of politics and art.  I came to the conclusion that indeed art has a duty to discuss and question the politics of a nation.  If the educated, thoughtful, and creative artists are not challenging and […] […]

Religious Transformation in Whitman’s “The Song of the Universal”

Having completed my explication previous to reading Betsy Erkkila’s excerpts from Whitman the Political Poet, I was surprised to find that my findings in the poem, that the speaker of the poem begins the last section of the poem believing in the natural and ends this section with a prayer to a specific god, mimicked […] […]

Politics in Art

The first point that made an impression on me in the excerpt of Betsy Erkkila’s book Whitman the Political Poet is her statement that, “this split has been at least partly the construction of critics who, under the influence of the Modernist and New Critical insistence on the separation of politics and art, have been […] […]

Essay Ideas from the Erkkila Excerpt

Having recently identified psychobiography and psychoanalytic criticism of Whitman’s work as potential topics for a bibliographic essay, I was especially interested in the portions of Betsy Erkkila’s Whitman the Political Poet that provided insight into these areas. In terms of psychobiography, Erkkila reveals that “immediately after the war, Whitman appears to have suffered from a […] […]

Brian for September 29 – Calamus, Ulysses, etc.

In an article for “The Chronicle Review,” published by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Prof. Steven G. Kellman addresses the legacy of James Joyce’s Ulysses. A couple points from his article made me think I was reading a review of the Life and Writing of Walt Whitman: Joyce’s Ulysses, named the best English-language novel of […] […]

Whitman’s “war-paralysis” through Erkkila

In the critical review, Whitman the Political Poet, Betsy Erkkila writes how Whitman had suffered from a severe paralytic stroke that also led him to be hospitalized during the war time. There is also a claim that “his stroke was at least partly a result of the psychic demons that came to haunt him during […] […]

Whitman Found: More Levi’s Commercials

It’s really remarkable that Whitman has eased his way into modern society through Levi’s and US! Good timing! […]

Thoughts on “Whitman the Political Poet”

In excerpts from “Whitman the Political Poet” Besty Erkkila brings up some interesting points about Whitman’s complicated political dealings. In Chapter 1 she addresses one of the most popular myths about Whitman: that he transcended politics. I’ve noticed a curious tendency for Whitman to be deified by his many of his readers and scholars–that he speaks […] […]

Image Gloss — scrofula

scrofula Did you fear some scrofula out of the unflagging pregnancy? p.48 “Song of Myself”. “Scrofula” (AKA King’s Evil) historically referred to a type of tuberculosis that affects the lymph glands of the neck. Today there is disagreement among medical professionals about its relationship to tuberculosis. The word is adapted from the latin scrofa meaning “female swine”, […] […]

“[I]n the thickness of his times…”

The excerpts we read from Betsy Erkkila’s Whitman the Political Poet reveal the 20th century conflict over whether or not to study Whitman in the context of his political involvement. According to Erkkila, critics who act in the interest of the American canon prefer to ignore or dismiss the potentially political nature of Whitman’s poetry, instead […] […]