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Seminar paper from the year 1999 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1,0 (A), University of Münster (English Seminar), course: English and American Romantic Poetry, 13 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: This research paper is going to deal with the poem “Song of Myself“ by Walt
Whitman, which was published in the collection of poetry Leaves of Grass in
and holds a central place in American literature.
Whitman himself is said to be one of the most revolutionary poets in America and
besides the most radical transcendentalist. He was a fighter for democracy and
especially stood up for the rights of oppressed and disadvantaged people.
His poems were an outlet of their suppressed feelings and drives.
By using free verse he also broke the conventional meter and introduced a new -
more natural - verse form.
Therefore I feel a personal interest in this fascinating man and his works.
A common subject of many of Whitman’s poems is sexuality. You can find a huge
variety of several images and symbols of sexuality in numerous poems like e.g.
the famous ‘Calamus-poems’ (“When I heard at the Close of the Day“ or “Trickle
Drops“) and also in the so-called ‘Enfans d’Adam (Children of Adam)-poems’
(Poem of the Body: “I Sing the Body Electric“ ; Poem of Procreation: “A Woman
waits for Me“; or the most bizarre one Bunch Poem: “Spontaneous Me“).
I have selected “Song of Myself“ as it is widely considered to be Whitman's
single most important and most personal poem. In “Song of Myself“ you can find
elements of three kinds of sexuality that often appears in Whitman’s poems:
heterosexuality as the ‘normal’ sexuality of this time, homosexuality as Whitman
is considered to be homosexual and autosexuality which was strictly considered as
something abominable and despicable at this time.
Due to the huge variety of sexual elements in “Song of Myself“ and the lenght of
the poem it is unavoidable to give only some selected examples acting for the