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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2010

E 379N • Walt Whitman and His World

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35105 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
PAR 105

Course Description

This course explores the prose and poetry of Walt Whitman and examines his role as precursor of modern and contemporary poetry. Through close readings of his texts and broader discussions of the literary and cultural context of Whitman's time, we shall try to assess the poetic, linguistic and cultural position of the "American bard". The course will be organized around thematic units, focusing primarily on Whitman’s quest for “the freshest and freest expression” and the specifics of his poetic innovations. “Unstopped and unwarped by any influence outside the soul within me, I have had my say entirely my own way” Whitman celebrated his individual voice, giving birth to a specifically American tradition which will subsequently be the focus of the semester when we will look at Whitman’s influence on later poetry, seeing how American poets have responded to the literary tradition implemented by Whitman.

Grading Policy

quizzes and class participation (20%). Mid-semester essay (40%). End of semester in-class exam (40%).


Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass and a selection of poems by Hart Crane, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, John Ashbery, Jerome Rothenberg, David Antin.


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