There have been a number of anthologies of Walt Whitman criticism; A Companion to Walt Whitman was intended to be comprehensive, definitive, and inclusive of the leading contemporary scholars writing on Whitman in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Donald Kummings is one of the most respected Whitman scholars; editors of previous critical anthologies contributed in this work.
I was commissioned to contribute a book chapter on the basis of an American Literary Association talk I gave in Cambridge, Massachusetts that impressed the editors of the definitive Whitman Online site, Ed Folsom and Ken Price. My chapter on ‘Nation and Identity’ forms one of the core opening essays by a handful of critics who present Whitman’s most prevalent and difficult poetic subjects. The subject of the chapter also constitutes a quintessential American problem and paradox: the relationship between the self and the broader political and cultural state of being, one carried into twentieth and twenty-first century contexts. I trace Whitman’s essential models to a vein of American pragmatism; my study is not only literary but also engages with philosophy, sociology, and politics, specifically through the recent writings of Richard Rorty, Richard Sennett, and Krishnan Kumar. Hand-in-hand with this interdisciplinary approach is my own application of formalist close reading to a supposedly ‘style-less’ poet. I also address the topic of the nature and place of democracy in America in relation to individual identity.
|Type of Research:||Book Section|
|Your affiliations with UAL:||Colleges > London College of Communication|
|Deposited By:||INVALID USER|
|Deposited On:||04 Dec 2009 13:51|
|Last Modified:||05 May 2011 15:39|