>>7678948 Anyone have no idea what Whitman's supposed to be about? It's all like, "I jizz over all the trees, the mountains, and glorious rivers, and over my soul, which is not myself, but in all your hearts," and I have no idea what it's supposed to me about.
>>7678953 >not sure if serious Well if you're not kidding: You should start from the very beginning and do your best to understand the message behind each poem. It's more about life being too precious to be concerned with anything else but love and nature. When Walt refers to himself its usually not about him physically. It's about the thing inside all of us that keeps all of us connected: Consciousness.
>>7678984 >Understanding the message behind each poem is kind of hard when I already have no idea what he's even ranting about. That's why I said start from the beginning because if you actually take the time to understand it for yourself you'll see that he outlines the entire purpose of all his work in the first few poems. Ex: He is alone in his room and a spirit visits him(God). The spirit tells Walt that he will act through him and his songs to share the love of life with everyone. I'm really paraphrasing it here but yeah don't be lazy and read it with an open mind.
Jesus Christ...an Anon who knows what he's talking about? I didn't think I'd live to see the day.
Also, >>7678953, it's important to note that Whitman is one of the only writers to explicitly state he was better than Shakespeare and had the stuff to back it up. People often misunderstand the significance of this because they usually misinterpret or misread one or the other.
Joyce tried to bring the title to Ireland by trying to be a blend of Shakespeare/Chaucer, but he was never able to outdo Whitman, even if he was fantastic in his own way.
And yes, I'm talking about the title of Greatest Writer in the English Language, and there hasn't been another true contender since Joyce.
You must be joking. I love Whitman, but he cannot begin to contend with the sheer breadth and consistent quality of Shakespeare and Joyce. Whitman has a few masterpieces, truly transcendental works of genius, and quite a lot of useless baggage in his oeuvre. Sure, some of Shakespeare's early stuff is pretty trite, and Joyce's Chamber Music isn't stellar (as he himself admitted even before it was published), but once Shakespeare and Joyce reach a certain maturity, it seems they have the Midas' Touch of art. Whitman, while not less of a genius in his best moments, is a more imperfect genius, and I daresay a narrower one.
Afraid I'm going to have to agree with >>7680329 and with Bloom on this one. In the mid-period of Whitman's life, he wrote a loot of shit that could have been done better. Although there is no poem like "Song of Myself", Whitman just isn't as consistently great as Shakespeare. Joyce, perhaps.
I'm not going to hard argue with either of you because you both have valid opinions. And there was a time in my life that I thought Shakespeare was wholly better than Whitman, and I may return that opinion again in the future.
The only thing I would really disagree with is Joyce's consistency. I think Joyce was the only writer since Whitman and Shakespeare to make a genuine attempt at the title, but I don't think he was as consistent as either of them. In any case, I rank Shakespeare and Whitman at the top. Joyce behind both.
Whitman is hella close to Shakes. Shakes wrote a buncha crap too -- Whitman a lot more, sure -- but 10 of Shakes' plays are mediocre, a quarter of the sonnets are mediocre, and another quarter are derivative of some of his better sonnets. I mean that still leaves him with like 70 GOAT sonnets (Sidney is the only real sonnet contender in English really after him) and 17ish Great plays and 10ish GOAT GOAT GOAT ones. Whitman has 5 GOAT GOAT GOAT poems, and about 20 great ones.
I mean, it's always possible to argue for Chaucer, Joyce, Melville, Hawthorne (yes, really), Wordsworth, Pope as being really up there. Milton too though he's more English than he is Universal like those others.
>>7681035 >Chaucer, Joyce, Melville, Hawthorne (yes, really), Wordsworth, Pope But Shakespeare's best parts could fill up an entire book, that can't be said of any of the others. Their rare moments are common in Shakespeare. Moreover, there wouldn't be a Melville or Joyce without Shakespeare
eah I know I'm trying devil's advocate the best I can and it (rightly) failed
Shakes' only REAL competitors are Homer, Dante, and Chaucer. Whitman is the only one I'd consider adding after. Also I forgot Tolstoy/Dickens in the mix but while both are fantastic I don't think either can make a cut of this calibre
really not a large increase over Homer's true abilities as a philosopher-poet. Homer is so varied, so myth and yet human, that it's easy to say he is the beginning of real literature. Virgil is a very flawed poet who wrote a character far less interesting than Odysseus. Aeneas is neat but dated. Odysseus will never be dated.
I would put Blake over him in terms of imaginative power. Satan is to Hamlet or w/e Shakespeare you wish as Aeneas is to Odysseus. More impressive outwardly, but dated, far less really "human", and not Universal. God/Adam/Eve/etc. aren't really even considerations. Milton isn't even close to Shakes or anyone else I listed.
Wife of Bath alone was the most human character in literature to date at that time other than maybe Dante (the narrator) or Odysseus. Also he was enormously skilled with language far beyond all I listed other than Shakes, consolidated medieval tradition, ridiculed it, humanized it, and reminded everyone to look at ourselves and our faults and our humanness in an era where Dante looked to the skies (and found something just as genius)
I mean I'd love to argue further but I'm copy-pasting the letter "t" over and over again since my "t" key is broken so this is a pain to type. Besides I could argue it out loud for days awake and not be finished with my argument
>>7681081 Forget an argument, I read Chaucer in the original English a few weeks ago and it just didn't stand out to me. I can see how he's influential, but I simply can't appreciate his art. To me Milton, hell even Spenser, is miles ahead.
>>7681047 Deathbed edition is certainly influenced by Indian concepts. First edition certainly not.
>>7678953 Hey if you're still here make sure you: - Start by reading Whitman's first 1855 edition - Fully read his prose introduction - Read the entire work from beginning to end (it is very short don't worry).
You will still have trouble understanding 100% of it but just enjoy the poetry and keep reading. The larger spiritual ideas will be very clear if you read it all.
>>7681162 the original 1855 edition is essential. Then I would read the deathbed edition, which reworks some of the original poems and adds a significant amount of additional material. You can find compilations that have both the original the deathbed editions.
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