Jun 29 2009

Whitman and the West

Published by at 10:36 am under Uncategorized

As I prepare for a trip West, I’m curious about Whitman’s views of this region. Here are his no-so-favorable impressions of Kansas women.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892).  Prose Works. 1892.
I. Specimen Days
199. The Women of the West
Kansas City.-I AM not so well satisfied with what I see of the women of the prairie cities. I am writing this where I sit leisurely in a store in Main street, Kansas city, a streaming crowd on the sidewalks flowing by. The ladies (and the same in Denver) are all fashionably drest, and have the look of “gentility” in face, manner and action, but they do not have, either in physique or the mentality appropriate to them, any high native originality of spirit or body, (as the men certainly have, appropriate to them.) They are “intellectual” and fashionable, but dyspeptic-looking and generally doll-like; their ambition evidently is to copy their eastern sisters. Something far different and in advance must appear, to tally and complete the superb masculinity of the West, and maintain and continue it.

One response so far

One Response to “Whitman and the West”

  1. Matton 30 Jun 2009 at 5:19 pm

    What a fascinating snippet of text, Carol, and what a great idea for a post! I love the way you built the subject of the post from the text of your own life. And it’s great, too, to have this tagged; I’m sure that “West” and “Women” are going to bring back some interesting sitewide posts by the end of the project!

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