From the Romantic to the Pragmatic

Song of Myself – Wikipedia

This is the transition Walt Whitman tried to make in his poetry.

Both impulses were strong in his time – but he was not very aware of either one. He was mainly interested in being entertained – and he preferred low-brow entertainment.

He compensated for this by being as intellectual as he could – a common failure of his time.

He tried to celebrate the simple – as reflected in title Leaves of Grass – and he was more successful at this – but did not give us an adequate insight into who he was. Except in the most general terms.

It would be a hundred years before writers could do this.

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