Indirection and Character in "Song of Myself"

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Creator: 

Sorensen, Thomas

Date: 

2014

Abstract: 

In the 1980's and 1990's, a number of critics came to the conclusion that Whitman aspired to an unmediated act of poetic self-representation. I revisit this conclusion, arguing that although it is true Whitman considered his poetry an extension of his personality, he also believed personality is ineffable, and as such avoids exposing it to engaged representation. Instead, he proceeds according to his theory of "indirection"--that is, the poem does not represent his personality as such, but rather evokes a vague atmospheric quality meant to approximate the peculiar resonance of his own personality. I inquire into the specific means available to Whitman's indirect method, as well as the challenges indirection presents to dominant reading practices.

Subject: 

Literature - English

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

English

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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