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Topic: Walt Whitman, American liberal?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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David Yeagley Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 19 2010,10:39  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not to get into the issue of Walt Whitman's political philosophy, but, here's an interesting piece on his glasses!

A self-invented man
The many meanings of Walt Whitman's glasses

January/February 2010
Yale Alumni Magazine
by Michael Cunningham

Michael Cunningham has published four novels, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Hours. He teaches fiction writing at Yale

QUOTE
If we harbored any collective doubts about whether an object can be too rich and significant to write about, the matter of Walt Whitman’s glasses should put those doubts to rest. I mean, really. Walt Whitman’s glasses.

Like Emily Dickinson’s bed or Herman Melville’s customs office uniform, this particular pair of spectacles resides in that peculiar realm of metaphor so potent as to exist already, fully formed, in all our minds. Nobody who’s read even a little of Whitman needs me to get poetic about What Those Eyes Beheld, or about the nervous system that connected soul to brain to eyes to lenses to nineteenth-century America and which was, ultimately, able to reach back from beyond mortality itself and speak to us, the still-living, about the constant intercession of the past into the present. See, I’m already going misty on you.

I’d rather talk briefly about what the glasses (artificial enhancers that they are) imply about Whitman as a self-invented man. Not as a self-created man—American history is irritatingly full of such people—but as, arguably, the first American artist not only to generate a body of great work but to enhance himself into—invent himself as, if you will—someone who could credibly produce the work in the first place.


Okay.  Whiteman's individualism is not to be equated with politics, except maybe libertarianism, (small "l").  Idolizing self is part of the human tradition, in any political context.  But, just to know that anything coming out of Yale is liberal.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 19 2010,12:42 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Of course he was liberal. Not a commie. Big difference. Thankfully he was a liberal and his creativity was not compromised. One of my favorite authors.
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David Yeagley Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 19 2010,13:01 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

He's a grabber, alright.  Got my attention early in highschool.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 19 2010,13:26 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Mark Twain have to be up there too!
Wow they lived in wide open America when America was America. The land was still pure, open and free.
That was freedom back then.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 20 2010,00:36 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

There's a curious thing on YouTube.   It's called poetry animation.  They do this with many of the historical notables (Even Poe).    The following is not the real voice of Whitman.   Nevertheless, take a listen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAvKGeoWqyw&feature=related

But really, there is purportedly only one true and actual wax recording of the voice of Whitman, and it follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v....dedhttp
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