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Walt Whitman. And His Web of Influence. Walt Whitman’s Web of Influence. The Life and Times of Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman’s work has far-reaching influences across literature, politics, society and art. People influenced by Walt Whitman. Art/Movies/Music influenced by Walt Whitman.

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Walt Whitman

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Walt whitman l.jpg

Walt Whitman

And His Web of Influence


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Walt Whitman’s Web of Influence

The Life and Times of Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman’s work has far-reaching influences across literature, politics, society and art.

People influenced by Walt Whitman

Art/Movies/Music influenced by

Walt Whitman


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Walt Whitman… growing up

  • Born in Long Island, New York in 1819

  • He and his family of 11 moved to Brooklyn

  • Only went to school for six years before he started an apprenticeship with a printer. He was basically self-educated

  • After 2 years of his apprenticeship he moved to New York City and worked in print shops


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Walt Whitman… back home

  • In 1835 moved back to his hometown and he became a country school teacher

  • Started and edited “The Long Islander”

  • Taught in Huntington until 1841 when he moved back to New York City


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Walt Whitman… in NYC

  • Whitman worked as a journalist, and as a printer

  • Made political speeches, wrote freelance writings for popular magazines, and worked on Martin Van Buren’s Presidential campaign

  • There was a split in the Democratic Party, which put Walt Whitman out of a job. They didn't like that he supported the Free-Soil party, so he lost his job editing an influential newspaper called, “The Brooklyn Eagle”


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Walt Whitman… in writing

  • 1841, Whitman had his words first published. Several short stories and two novels: “Franklin Evans” and “The Child’s Champion”

  • In 1855, Walt Whitman paid for the first edition of Leaves of Grass to be printed. This contained 12 long poems, without title

  • Second edition contained 20 more poems, and a letter congratulating Whitman from Ralph Waldo Emerson. When Emerson saw the letter in the second edition he was surprised to see it published


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Walt Whitman… in the Civil War

  • 1841, Whitman had his words first published. Several short stories and two novels: “Franklin Evans” and “The Child’s Champion”

  • Whitman cared for many wounded soldiers during the American Civil War

  • While doing this, he saw Abraham Lincoln many times and began to admire him

  • After Lincoln got assassinated Whitman wrote two poems inspired by his grief, “O Captain! My Captain!” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed”


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Walt Whitman… in the End

  • After the Civil War Whitman worked in the Department of the Interior. When found out that he was the author of the “Leaves of Green” he got fired because they were considered 'offensive'

  • When Whitman died he owned a house in New Jersey which he was able to get because he had published 7 different editions of “Leaves of Green”

  • He died on March 26, 1892 at the age of 73

  • An excerpt from one of his poems is

  • inscribed on his tombstone


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Oscar Wilde

T.S. Eliot

People Influenced by Walt Whitman

Bram Stoker

Allen Ginsberg

Richard Maurice Bucke


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Walt Whitman&T.S. Eliot

  • T.S. Eliot was a poet in Britain. He was strongly influenced by the French, but Eliot also answered Whitman’s Revolutionary call

  • Eliot was inspired by the hysteria from the fear of the cold war. He was also influenced by the political persecutions

  • Eliot saw Walt Whitman as a great patriot who was really frustrated with America, but he also saw the love for freedom and power from his writing, “Song of the Open Road”


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Walt Whitman&Bram Stoker

  • Bram Stoker had an illness growing up that kept him in bed most of his life. Because of this illness, a lot of his works had to to with everlasting sleep and the resurrection form the dead

  • Stoker based his story “Dracula” on Walt Whitman. It is said that Dracula is symbolic for Walt Whitman, "The Master", and his effect on society

  • Dracula the vampire at times resembles Whitman. Each has long white hair, a heavy moustache, great height and strength…


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Walt Whitman&Oscar Wilde

  • Oscar Wilde was one of the writers during the height of the Victorian Era

  • He wrote many short stories, plays and poems that inspired people all around the world

  • He won the Newdigate prize for one of his poems that he wrote

  • Wilde traveled across the US to give lectures to people on aesthetics

  • Walt Whitman was an influence on Wilde with his visions of an optimistic and a self-reliant America


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Walt Whitman&Richard Maurice Bucke

  • Bucke was friends with many people that loved literature.

  • He was impressed by Whitman’s “Leaves of Green”

  • Bucke was greatly influenced by being friends with Walt Whitman, philosophically and through his literature

  • Bucke developed a theory of human intellectual and emotional evolution

  • Also wrote and gave professional speeches and wrote a book on all of his theories called Man's Moral Nature

  • Bucke was elected into the English Literature section of the Royal Society of Canada


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Walt Whitman&Allan Ginsberg

  • Allen Ginsberg is a poet who wrote many things including “A Supermarket in California”

  • In this there are references to Walt Whitman and Frederico Garcia Lorca

  • Ginsberg had a Jewish background, and his works were mainly based on modernism and romanticism. He thought that he inherited the visionary and homoerotic poetry from Walt Whitman

  • Ginsberg applied Whitman's tone and stylistic innovations to the anti-authoritarian politics and insurgent thinking of the post-World War II era. Ginsberg was one in a long series of poets to pay homage to Whitman


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Art/Movies/MusicInfluenced By Walt Whitman

Movie:

Dead Poet’s Society

Art:

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”

Art:

Joseph Stella


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Walt Whitman&“Dead Poet’s Society”

  • The movie focuses on passages from Whitman’s “Oh Captain! My Captain” as an ongoing theme

  • As quoted by main character John Keating when describing the purpose of poetry:But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, "O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?“


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Walt Whitman&“Starry Night”

  • Van Gogh gave very little explanation or meaning behind his famous work “Starry Night”. One theory is that is it a visual interpretation of Walt Whitman’s poetry

  • Whitman's ”From Noon to Starry Night” was first published in France in 1888

  • Also possibly inspired by Whitman’s “Song of Myself”:

  • Smile O voluptuous cool-breath'd earth!  Earth of the slumbering and liquid trees!  Earth of departed sunset--earth of the mountains misty-top’t!  Earth of the vitreous pour of the full moon just tinged with blue!  Earth of shine and dark mottling the tide of the river!  Earth of the limpid gray of clouds brighter and clearer for my sake! 


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Walt Whitman&Joseph Stella

  • Joseph Stella, never having met Whitman, drew inspiration from his poetry and used it in his art works. He had no personal relationship with Whitman, but yet his debt to him was great

  • When Stella first started out his drawings, he put Whitman's democratic ideas in his art work. Joseph Stella did some drawings for a magazine

  • Also, Stella wanted to show the life of humans as an undisguised and naked life, just as Whitman did


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