Walt Whitmans Song of Myself

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Walt Whitman's 'Song of Myself,' the free verse poetry in which he celebrates "Mother Nature" and "his own nature as a representative of all humankind in its endless variety" [Loving, p. XI] is considered Whitman's best poetry, containing the "essence of nearly all his poems" published in 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass [Chase, 58].


The poem has produced abundant critical evaluation; the present review shall focus on three evaluations that may help in appreciating the poem and the poet.
'Song of Myself' presents a multitude of paradoxical perceptions, at the centre being the paradox of democratic vision versus individualism. While Whitman's democratic vision -- that he sees himself in equal terms with any other being, is perceptible to a discernible reader, the profuse use of symbolism and the interweaving of a transcendental vision of life and death, with the apparent focus on physical body and existence, add to complexity of the poem, making it a difficult read. Taylor Hagood in "Hair, Feet, Body, and Connectedness in Song of Myself" exemplifies how Whitman applies the image of human body, positioning it along "horizontal and vertical axes" to simultaneously signify democracy and individualism. Hagood explains that "horizontal orientation . . . carries democratic significance," while verticality implies individuality, hair being the image of "connectedness" [Hagood 26-27]. ...
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