Walt Whitman: Poems

Walt Whitman: The Center of the American Literary Canon College

Through his work in poetry, literature, and other media, Walt Whitman is often considered one of the most significant American writers and theorists. He arguably popularized all-American literature with his work, injecting American writing into an era where only genteel and European-traditionist literature was taught in college. As evident by his epic from Leaves of Grass, “Song of Myself,” in which the speaker is not the voice of one man but of the common people as a whole, Whitman believed in the sameness of all men, in the natural right of diversity, in the power and strength of the democratic process, and in deism. Furthermore, Whitman’s writing style thereof successfully created an unique American character who represented people of all castes, religions, and backgrounds. Because of his captivating social expositions on the dream of “freedom” in American society and his ability through his literature to give the common American people a “voice,” Walt Whitman is considered the center of the American literary canon and the poet of democracy.

Many might say that Walt Whitman was ideologically “ahead” of his time; a progressive in an era that preceeded the progressive movement of the early twentieth century. Unlike the...

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