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Walt Whitman and the Class Struggle.

By: Lawson, Andrew.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Iowa Whitman Series: Publisher: Iowa City : University of Iowa Press, 2009Description: 1 online resource (187 p.).ISBN: 9781587296703.Subject(s): Literature and society -- United States -- History -- 19th century | Social classes in literature | Social conflict in literature | Whitman, Walt, 1819-1892 -- Political and social viewsGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Walt Whitman and the Class StruggleDDC classification: 811.3 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Introduction: The Whitman Myth; 1 Sex, Class, and Commerce; 2 The American 1848; 3 The Class Struggle in Language; Postscript: Material Resistance; Notes; Bibliography; Index
Summary: By reconsidering Whitman not as the proletarian voice of American diversity but as a historically specific poet with roots in the antebellum lower middle class, Andrew Lawson in Walt Whitman and the Class Struggle defines the tensions and ambiguities about culture, class, and politics that underlie his poetry. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources from across the range of antebellum print culture, Lawson uses close readings of Leaves of Grass to reveal Whitman as an artisan and an autodidact ambivalently balanced between his sense of the injustice of class privilege and his desire for distinction. Consciously drawing upon the languages of both the elite culture above him and the vernacular culture below him, Whitman constructed a kind of middle linguistic register that attempted to filter these conflicting strata and defuse their tensions: "You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, / You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself." By exploring Whitman''s internal struggle with the contradictions and tensions of his class identity, Lawson locates the source of his poetic innovation. By revealing a class-conscious and conflicted Whitman, he realigns our understanding of the poet''s political identity and distinctive use of language and thus valuably alters our perspective on his poetry.
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Electronic Book UT Tyler Online
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PS3242 | PS3242.S58 L39 2006 | PS3242.S58L39 2006 (Browse shelf) http://uttyler.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=843189 Available EBL843189

Contents; Acknowledgments; Abbreviations; Introduction: The Whitman Myth; 1 Sex, Class, and Commerce; 2 The American 1848; 3 The Class Struggle in Language; Postscript: Material Resistance; Notes; Bibliography; Index

By reconsidering Whitman not as the proletarian voice of American diversity but as a historically specific poet with roots in the antebellum lower middle class, Andrew Lawson in Walt Whitman and the Class Struggle defines the tensions and ambiguities about culture, class, and politics that underlie his poetry. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources from across the range of antebellum print culture, Lawson uses close readings of Leaves of Grass to reveal Whitman as an artisan and an autodidact ambivalently balanced between his sense of the injustice of class privilege and his desire for distinction. Consciously drawing upon the languages of both the elite culture above him and the vernacular culture below him, Whitman constructed a kind of middle linguistic register that attempted to filter these conflicting strata and defuse their tensions: "You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, / You shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself." By exploring Whitman''s internal struggle with the contradictions and tensions of his class identity, Lawson locates the source of his poetic innovation. By revealing a class-conscious and conflicted Whitman, he realigns our understanding of the poet''s political identity and distinctive use of language and thus valuably alters our perspective on his poetry.

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Lawson (Leeds Metropolitan Univ., UK) argues that Whitman was an autodidact caught between the coarse working-class and refined upper-middle-class cultures of antebellum New York. He was "a figure of liminality," a poet who occupied an uncertain position in "a Jacksonian lower-middle class undergoing the transition from an agrarian, artisanal culture to an urban, market economy." At the center of Lawson's argument is that understanding Whitman's place in contending social classes provides valuable insights into the "heteroglot style" of his poetry. Especially praiseworthy is Lawson's thorough and perceptive discussion of Whitman's "linguistic mixtures," that is, his use of the opposing languages of elite culture and popular print. Lawson's explorations of Whitman's language (particularly in chapter 3, "The Class Struggle in Language") are as illuminating as comparable analyses in C. Carroll Hollis's Language and Style in "Leaves of Grass" (CH, Dec'83), James Perrin Warren's Walt Whitman's Language Experiment (CH, Jan'91, 28-2605), and Ed Folsom's Walt Whitman's Native Representations (CH, Jan'95, 32-2568). Also excellent is Lawson's revisionist discussion of Whitman as a writer in the tradition of Menippean satire. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. D. D. Kummings University of Wisconsin--Parkside

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