Leaves of Grass

Homoeroticism in Leaves of Grass College

American poet, essayist and journalist, Walt Whitman, worked to expose his readers to his unique, personal thoughts on the body, nature, and the human experience. Whitman was a humanist, and incorporated both transcendentalism and realism in his work. He is often referred to as the father of free verse. Whitman’s most praised work is Leaves of Grass: a collection of poetry, published in 1855. The poems in Leaves of Grass are seen as Whitman’s celebration of life and humanity. Whitman chooses to explore and praise the many pleasures that life has to offer, even those which may be considered immoral. Choosing to write about such subjects, both directly and indirectly, allowed for a great deal of interpretation to be made by his readers. One of the most repeated and more explicit ideas taken from his poetry regards Whitman’s sexual preference. There are several poems in Leaves of Grass that contain homoerotic imagery. Though the imagery is subtle, it is a part of his work which cannot be ignored. Through simplified and subverted word play, Whitman twists homoeroticism into his work without actually making a definitive statement about his sexual preference, never revealing whether he is homosexual or bisexual, and at the same...

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