This study explores fundamental relationships existing in the works of two great American Scholars of the 19th century: Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson. It argues that, “Song of Myself”, the poetry collection in Whitman’s major literary work Leaves of Grass, echoes or re-emphasizes some of Emerson’s significant ideological and philosophical beliefs. Ralph Waldo Emerson, recognized as the founder of America’s transcendentalist movement, was a key figure in America’s intellectual and literary revolution in the 19th century. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s publication of “Nature” in 1836 began a process of creating a new condition of American thinking, severed from European cultural and intellectual influences.1 In “The American Scholar” and “Self-Reliance”, Emerson called for an original American literature that truly depicted the American taste and condition.
His philosophy of “trusting in one’s self”, breaking away from theological and institutional dogmas and believing in the “divine” human personality, influenced other writers like Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau just to mention a few. Like Emerson’s first work “Nature” (1836), “Self-Reliance” (1841) was recognized for its peculiar character as a work of social commentary, espousing ideals of ‘how men ought to live’ while deemphasizing the asphyxiating pressures of external authority. The study illustrates the inter-textual ties and influences between Whitman’s long poem “Song of Myself” and aspects of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s major literary works. The study investigates this relationship by examining the thematic and philosophical concerns expressed in Whitman’s poetry and juxtaposes it with its literary predecessor/precursor rooted in a selection of Emerson’s major transcendentalist literary works. Employing T.S Eliot’s theory of influence in “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (1919) as a framework to interpret the echoes, the study challenges
SSA, R (2021). ECHOES OF EMERSON IN WALT WHITMAN’S “SONG OF MYSELF”. Afribary.com: Retrieved April 10, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/echoes-of-emerson-in-walt-whitman-s-song-of-myself
Research, SSA. "ECHOES OF EMERSON IN WALT WHITMAN’S “SONG OF MYSELF”" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 01 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/echoes-of-emerson-in-walt-whitman-s-song-of-myself . Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.
Research, SSA. "ECHOES OF EMERSON IN WALT WHITMAN’S “SONG OF MYSELF”". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 01 Apr. 2021. Web. 10 Apr. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/echoes-of-emerson-in-walt-whitman-s-song-of-myself >.
Research, SSA. "ECHOES OF EMERSON IN WALT WHITMAN’S “SONG OF MYSELF”" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed April 10, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/echoes-of-emerson-in-walt-whitman-s-song-of-myself