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Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Two of the greatest American poets of the 19th century!. Walt Whitman. personality - sociable and gregarious. He was a traveler. expectations - wanted his message to be carried to the world.

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walt whitman and emily dickinson

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

Two of the greatest American poets of the 19th century!

walt whitman
Walt Whitman
  • personality - sociable and gregarious. He was a traveler.
  • expectations - wanted his message to be carried to the world.
  • famous - during his lifetime (Leaves of Grass published in 1855.)
  • poetic style

- public spokesman of the masses

- prophet of progress

- extravagant with words and careless with repetition and self-contradiction

walt whitman1
Walt Whitman
    • used long lists (catalogues)
    • used “cadence” (the long easy sweep of sound that echoes the Bible and speeches of orators and preachers.)
    • often wrote in free verse (no rhyme or meter)
  • importance - model for 20th century poets (public)
  • personal life
    • born in May 1819
    • at the age of twelve, Whitman began to learn the printer's trade
    • at the age of 17, he began his career as teacher in a one-room school house in Long Island
    • continued to teach until 1841 and then turned to journalism as a full-time career
    • struggled to support himself through most of his life
    • at the outbreak of the Civil War, Whitman vowed to live a "purged" and "cleansed" life
    • died in March 1892
emily dickinson
Emily Dickinson
  • personality - very shy and a recluse
  • expectations - message was to die in oblivion
  • famous - after her death
  • poetic style
    • found in nature a metaphor for the spirit and recorded them with no thought for an audience
    • wrote with precision of a diamond cutter
    • meticulous focus on diction (choice of words)
    • aimed to evoke the feelings of things rather than simply to name them
    • economical technique
    • uses rhyme and meter
emily dickinson1
Emily Dickinson
  • Importance - model for 20th century poets (private)
  • Personal life
    • Lived a life of self imposed seclusion in her family’s home after college (gradual shift to secluded life)
    • Born December 1830 in Massachusetts
    • Family was a pillar in the community (politically active family)
    • was a bright and intelligent student as a child
    • father was very strict; he censored her reading (“Whitman too inappropriate”)
    • was a descendent of early Puritan settlers (religion important)
    • Emerson had a great influence on her writing
    • wrote over 1,700 poems and many letters
    • died at the age of 55 from Bight’s disease, which is caused by kidney degeneration
    • after her death her sister found a boxful of Emily’s poems and letters
    • First set of Dickinson’s poems published by her sister (Vinnie) and family friend (Mabel) in 1893