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The Growth of Leaves of Grass: The Organic Tradition in Whitman Studies

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With the publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855, Walt Whitman became a central and controversial figure in the fast-developing field of American literature. With each of six editions, Whitman added new poems and revised old ones, creating a cultural artifact as fluent and organic as the theory and practice on which it was founded.

In The Growth of the Leaves of Grass Professor Killingsworth argues that the critical tradition finds its primary models for interpreting Whitman's ...

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Overview

With the publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855, Walt Whitman became a central and controversial figure in the fast-developing field of American literature. With each of six editions, Whitman added new poems and revised old ones, creating a cultural artifact as fluent and organic as the theory and practice on which it was founded.

In The Growth of the Leaves of Grass Professor Killingsworth argues that the critical tradition finds its primary models for interpreting Whitman's poetry in the organic metaphors initiated by the poet himself, in particular the metaphor of vegetative growth. Early in the critical tradition, however, the romantic ideology of organic growth is challenged by a model of technical competence whose key metaphors involve images of architectonic control. The interplay of these models informs the several critical approaches that have developed over the century since Whitman's death.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781879751446
  • Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
  • Publication date: 5/1/1993
  • Series: Lceng Series
  • Pages: 154

Table of Contents

Preface
1 The Organic Tradition 1
2 The Person 9
Type and Token in Early Whitman Biography 11
The Advent of Modern Critical Biography 18
Psychoanalytical Criticism 37
3 The Poet 46
Defending the Poet 50
Analytical Criticism since the 1950s 58
Literary-Historical Criticism since the 1950s 74
4 The Prophet of Democracy 85
Spiritual Politics 87
The Body Politic and the Political Body 101
5 The Language 125
The Linguistic Turn 127
Upon Closing: Two Reflections 139
Works Cited 142
Index 150
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