Answering the phantom : Walt Whitman's role as poet in Leaves of grass
Much of the immense body of Whitman criticism that has accumulated to this point understandably concerns itself with trying to decipher Whitman's poetic values and objectives, for such questions do get to the heart of the poet's work. What was the poet saying, and why and how was he saying it? The reason so much criticism has been written attempting to answer these questions is that the passages in which Whitman specifically claims that he is setting out to define the American poet as well as his own role as just such a poet are cleverly abstract and sometimes contradictory. Therefore, this paper seeks to first contextualize the body of relevant Whitman criticism and then to look at the main sections of Leaves of Grass in which Whitman sets ou to explain his role as an American poet, in an attempt to glean from these passages some idea of Whitman's primary poetic focus. Finally, the paper will try to show how Whitman used concrete, tangible objects as the means through which his poetic objectives were carried out in his poetry, as well as his poetic process through which these goals were achieved. A work of literary analysis, this thesis seeks to explore the specific means through which Walt Whitman accomplished his rather abstract poetic goals in Leaves of Grass.
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Smith, Ernest J.
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Arts and Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic;Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Nichols, Jason A., "Answering the phantom : Walt Whitman's role as poet in Leaves of grass" (1998). HIM 1990-2015. 128.