Within a few months he recovered. Walt Whitman is often portrayed as a carefree and casual man both in his personal life as well as in his professional. Died: 13-Feb - 2003. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Whitman’s death came unexpectedly at last, although he had been very low for several months. Walt Whitman is known primarily for Leaves of Grass, though his prose volume Specimen Days contains some fine realistic descriptions of Civil War scenes. Walt Whitman, in full Walter Whitman, (born May 31, 1819, West Hills, Long Island, New York, U.S.—died March 26, 1892, Camden, New Jersey), American poet, journalist, and essayist whose verse collection Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855, is a landmark in the history of American literature. His autopsy revealed his cause of death as emphysema. Perhaps he did not get what he wanted in his time, but he certainly has gained acceptance in ours. Thomas Eakins’ studio at 1330 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, to Walt Whitman’s house, 330 Mickle Blvd., Camden, New Jersey. In “This Compost” Whitman examines the process of death and rebirth, and his interpretations of the dead changes as he realizes that death is just the fuel for new life. © 2021 Shmoop University Inc | All Rights Reserved | Privacy | Legal. Location of death: Austin, TX. His poetry, as much as it celebrates and endorses sexual liberation, consciously ‘beat[s] and pound[s] for the dead’. By approaching only the mechanics of death, Whitman is able to separate the emotional from the physical, and see that the dead are just the fuel of the Earth that “grows such sweet things out of such corruptions” and “gives such divine materials to men” (42, 46). He draws upon his own experiences with death and this makes his poetry real. One can also link Whitman’s view of death as a word “stronger and more delicious than any” with the historical onslaught of the American Civil War. Whitman's use of death is unlike any other poets. As I lay with Head in your Lap, Camerado He never met Abraham Lincoln and neither was he fond of the ways of the President (initially). Although Whitman moved on, as did others, from the bloody melodrama of spring 1865, “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” was far from his final engagement with the memory of President Lincoln. Whitman did not just suddenly realize the beneficial aspects of death. At least three death masks survive from the matrix they produced that day, one preserved at the Princeton University Library. Throughout the 1880s, Whitman delivered an annual lecture entitled “Death of Abraham Lincoln” on the anniversary of the assassination. Whitman died on March 26, 1892, one year after the final edition of Leaves of Grass was published. Walt Whitman resolved within himself that death is the cause of grief and the cause of joy, creates life as well as destroys it, and it can bring either happiness or sorrow. His heart too was “surrounded by numerous small abscesses and about a two and a half quarts of water.” This led to his death on March 26, 1892. His work was controversial in its time, particularly his poetry collection Leaves of Grass, which was described as obscene for its overt sensuality. One, “O Captain, My Captain,” is a fine piece of Victorian sentimentality, much anthologized and much recited on patriotic occasions: O Captain! Gender: Male. Birthplace: New York City. Anthology of Ideas is an archive of thoughts and form. He begins “This Compost” marveled and repulsed that the Earth is “work’d over and over with sour dead” (9). I do not doubt that wrecks at … [99] 1900. The boy translates the he-birds mourning song into words, and the boy believes that the death of the she-bird has, “My own songs, awaked from that hour” and the boy has given him “already a thousand singers—a thousand songs, clearer, louder and more sorrowful than yours, / A thousand warbling echoes have started to life within me, / Never to die.” (188; 151-3). This dual nature of death invigorated him and gave him a reason to live and a reason to create. Published Works In Whitman's Hand Life & Letters Commentary Resources Pictures & Sound About the Archive. Whitman sees death from the perspective of a phoenix — each death brings new life, so death is “low and delicious” and the word “stronger and more delicious than any” because if one focuses solely on life, they will always be disappointed because of the finite nature of life, but if one focuses on death, life will always be sweet because it will bring death which brings more life. Gender: Male Religion: Quaker Race or Ethnicity: White Sexual orientation: Gay Occupation: Poet. Walt Whitmanwas struck by a stroke in 1873 and later was diagnosed with buckled lungs. Walt Whitman wrote two memorial poems about the death of Abraham Lincoln. Published Works ... (Did you think Life was so well provided for, and Death, the pur-port of all Life, is not well provided for?) He was born on May 31, 1819 at West Hills, New York, United States. But, as Harold Aspiz demonstrates in this study, concerns with death and dying define Whitman’s career as thinker, poet, and person. Whitman may have been writing about the death of the “united” part of the United States of America, but it does not change that the poem can be interpreted to encompass and applied to death in general as a “transient permutation of elegiac narrative” (Mark Bauerlein). Born: 7-Oct - 1916. His heartfelt observation of life in wartime Washington made its way into poems, and he also wrote articles for newspapers and a number of notebook entries only published decades later. This dual nature of death invigorated him and gave him a reason to live and a reason to create. The Library of Congress presented an evening concert and a dramatic reading of Walt Whitman's historic lecture on the "Death of Lincoln." Walt Whitman. For the Bright romantics, death is just another change in life that they must accept and move beyond, but for the Dark Romantics it is just another limit that corrals them and leaves them powerless. But Leaves of Grass is actually more than one book. He was Writers (Poet) by profession. His daily contact with sickness and death took its toll. However, the poem is more than just the awakening of Whitman’s muse, it is also a timeless expression of the conflicting emotions that result from death. His funeral will take place on Wednesday at two o’clock. Race or … 85. Walt, or Walter, Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island, on the 31 st of May, 1819, and was educated in the … The Bright Romantic interpretation of death contrasts with the interpretation of death by Dark Romantics. The poet Walt Whitman wrote about the Civil War extensively. Walt Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. As the war progressed Whitman started to like the ideals of Lincoln and he … Perhaps he did not get what he wanted in his time, but he certainly has gained acceptance in ours. After a stroke towards the end of his life, Whitman moved to Camden, New Jersey, where his health further declined. Nationality: United States Executive summary: Leaves of Grass For Walt Whitman and other “Bright Romantics,” death does not represent an end but new beginnings, renewal and life. “Delphi Complete Works of Walt Whitman (Illustrated)”, p.653, Delphi Classics Come lovely and soothing death, Undulate round the world, serenely arriving, arriving, In the day, in the night, to all, to each, Sooner or later, delicate death. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Doctors concluded the cause of death was “… pleurisy of the left side, consumption of the right lung, general military tuberculosis and parenchymatous nephritis.” Not an uncommon fate for someone in this time and place. During this time, Whitman learned and saw so much. The poem “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” moves beyond this temporal interpretation of death, and Whitman recognizes that death creates emotions and desires that drive a poet and are responsible for many of the most beautiful songs – both man’s and beasts. He was American by natinoanliy. Whitman's own life came under scrutiny for his presumed homosexuality. He devoted many long hours serving as a volunteer aide in the hospitals in Washington, ministering to the needs of the sick and wounded soldiers. Walt Whitman is unquestionably a great poet of the joys of living. When he died at age 72, his funeral was a public event.Whitman's influence on poetry remains strong. our fearful trip is done, The … At the beginning of “Song of Myself”, Whitman asks what becomes of dead men, women, and children and answers his own question with, “They are alive and well somewhere, The smallest sprout shows there is really no death, And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it…” (194). The Least You Need to Know Whitman created new poetic forms and subjects to fashion a distinctly American type of poetic expression. Walt Whitman's Use of the Theme of Death in His Poetry Walt Whitman uses the theme of death in his poetry. After Whitman died, a three-hour autopsy was performed on his body. Free eBooks at www.WaltWhitman.com 1 OUT OF THE ROLLING OCEAN THE CROWD .....79 The conflicting emotional response to death in this poem encompass pain, joy, loss and gratitude, and demonstrates the perspective of one who is directly affected by death, and it mirrors Whitman’s conflicting view of the physical nature of death in “This Compost.” While the representation of this poem as a poet’s realization of his potential and the multifaceted nature of death seems to be the most artistic and profound interpretation, other interpretations have also been offered. Superficially the poem shows a boy, widely regarded to be Walt Whitman himself, witnessing the life and death of a she-bird and the effect it has on her mate, a he-bird. AKA Walt Whitman Rostow. This perspective allows Whitman to realize that death is not something to be feared, but should be embraced because without the processes of death, nothing can live. The works of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson express two very unique interpretations of death and what follows. my Captain! In the poem “This Compost”, Whitman recognizes this fact, and he is able to embrace death and reconcile the poisonous and decaying nature of death with the knowledge that it will create life. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Walt Whitman real name was Walter Whitman. "[99] A public viewing of his body was held at his Camden home; over one thousand people visited in three hours[2] and Whitman's oak coffin was barely visible because of all the flowers and wreaths left for him. Whitman suffered a stroke in 1873 and while convalescing in New Jersey was visited by Oscar Wilde. Whitman was raised in a humble background, by a working-class family of Quakers. Cause of death: unspecified. Leaves of Grass. Walter "Walt" Whitman (/ ˈ hw ɪ t m ə n /; May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist.A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. Death In January 1873, Whitman suffered the first of several strokes, which he called "whacks." Frank, as far as I saw, had everything requisite in surgical treatment, nursing, &c. ... Walt Whitman’s Soldiers A NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HEALTH AND MEDICINE ONLINE EXHIBIT The Walt Whitman Archive. Whitman spent time as a wound-dresser during the Civil War. Whitman himself became ill with "hospital malaria." — Walt Whitman, "The Dresser" (1867, later titled "The Wound-Dresser") ... Just as the book was going to press, he inserted a short new poem about Lincoln's death. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. The ninth, or “authorized,” edition appeared in 1892, the year of Whitman's death. Bedridden, he moved in 1884 to his last home, a house in Camden, New Jersey, today known as Walt Whitman House. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was the best fulfiller of his own call for an ‘immenser’ poet who would write ‘great poems of death’ (Democratic Vistas). Betsy Erkkila offers that this poem was “written at a time of national crisis” and that one should “recognize the historical roots of this elegy of dissolution in the state of the nation on the eve of the Civil War.” While one cannot ignore the setting and period that a poem was written, to focus too much on such aspects of poetry detract from the timeless nature and the emotional resonance of the ideas presented within. He was expected to work many jobs while growing up which, to his benefit, sometimes included working for different magazines and printers. He was the son of Walter Whitman Sr. (father) and Louisa Van Velsor Whitman (mother). Walt Whitman was a great supporter of the North and encouraged the cause through his works. The cause of death was officially listed as "pleurisy of the left side, consumption of the right lung, general miliary tuberculosis and parenchymatous nephritis. The actual cause of death was pyæmia, (the absorption of the matter in the system instead of its discharge.) Whitman’s perspective of death in “This Compost” is that of the distant observer who sees death as a part of life. That Whitman and Eakins were similar in temperament and talent is well documented. Walt Whitman resolved within himself that death is the cause of grief and the cause of joy, creates life as well as destroys it, and it can bring either happiness or sorrow. He contrasts the summer growth that is “innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead” with the buried remains of “[t]hose drunkards and gluttons of so many generations” (29, 11). Daniel Mark Epstein, author of "Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington" (Ballantine Books, 2004), offered a complete reading of Whitman's tribute to the assassinated president. Walt Whitman (1819–1892). For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. Realizing that the world above is not polluted by the dead below the ground demonstrates that death is not a corrupter but fuel. By entering your email address you agree to receive emails from Shmoop and verify that you are over the age of 13. Leaves of Grass. AKA Walter Whitman, Jr. Born: 31-May-1819 Birthplace: Huntington Station, NY Died: 26-Mar-1892 Location of death: Camden, NJ Cause of death: Pneumonia Remains: Buried, Harleigh Cemetery, Camden, NJ. 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