With music strong I come : Whitman's cultural influence through folk music
Walt Whitman initiated a revolution in poetry with his publication of Leaves of Grass by means of catapulting the self to be the focus of poetry, equivalent to the heroes of democracy, where the constant metaphor of the self is only successfully compared to the vastness of a nation. The impact of his poems created ripples of influence throughout the academic sphere by spawning intellectual heirs who continued his trajectory of poetry. However, Whitman's influence is also thriving outside of the academic sphere as several cultural icons continue his notion of a cultural politic. Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan are two figures within American folk music who continue Whitman's trajectory of being both one who is apart of culture and one who is offered to culture. While these musicians continue many of Whitman's themes, they are also simultaneously addressing the hazards of Whitman's prophesies. Across the linear timeline of American culture and history, Whitman's impact shifts depending upon the era of focus. The anachronistic elements of Whitman's influence are removed as the musicians maintain the objective of applying Whitman's philosophy to some of America's most turbulent time frames. Themes of the self in relation to the nation, the manipulation of time and space, the challenges of brotherhood and adhesiveness, and the idea of the West as a utopia for the laboring class are addressed and revised as the musicians address the changing contexts of both Whitman and the American identity.
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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;Whitman, Walt -- 1819-1892
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
McHenry, Patrick J., "With music strong I come : Whitman's cultural influence through folk music" (2002). HIM 1990-2015. 244.