Show simple item record Brenneman, Elizabeth M. 2016-12-14T21:38:00Z 2016-12-14T21:38:00Z 2014-08
dc.identifier.citation Brenneman, E.M. (2014) "I will not have a single person slighted or left away": Whitman's use of Science and Religion in "Song of Myself' to Proclaim Eternity and Promote Equality (Unpublished master’s thesis). Indiana University South Bend, South Bend, Indiana. en
dc.description Thesis (M.A.) -- Indiana University South Bend, 2014. en
dc.description.abstract This essay demonstrates that Whitman displays considerable knowledge of the sciences of his era and that he uses science in the initial (1855) version of "Song of Myself' to fulfill two main purposes: he attempts to formulate a cogent answer to the age-old concern of what takes place with the soul after death, and he promotes democracy through elevation of the common man over political institutions. Just as science is an equalizing force in the sense it makes no distinction between men based on wealth or social standing, so too are death and democracy equalizing forces. It is this common trait of science, death, and democracy that Whitman brings into play as he links the three in "Song of Myself." Although there is certainly importance in considering Whitman's other versions of this poem and in tracing the poet's revisions over the years until its final revision in 1881, there is certainly also value in looking at the work in its original form and in its original historical context. Whitman himself stated if not a preference, then at least a fondness for his original Leaves of Grass. He mused to biographer Horace Traubel that it had '"an immediateness, ... an incisive directness', absent from other editions, adding: 'We miss that ecstasy of statement in some of the after-work"' (qtd. in Leaves, 2005). Clearly, even though he revised the text over the years, Whitman acknowledged that the original had perhaps more passion, urgency, and originality of thought than later revised versions. In looking at this first text, one can analyze Whitman's initial reactions to and judgments of the social and political issues of his era. I will argue that Whitman incorporated science into his original "Song of Myself' to fulfill two main purposes: to attempt to assuage his own fear of death, and to promote democratic ideals. I will use historical analysis to establish Whitman's preoccupation with death and his interest in democracy, supporting my claims with a close reading of the poem and of Whitman's own Introduction to Leaves of Grass. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892. Song of myself. en
dc.subject Literature and science en
dc.subject Religion and literature en
dc.title "I will not have a single person slighted or left away": Whitman's use of Science and Religion in "Song of Myself' to Proclaim Eternity and Promote Equality en
dc.type Thesis en
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