Laura's Reviews > The Portable Walt Whitman

The Portable Walt Whitman by Walt Whitman
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Aug 19, 10

bookshelves: assigned-reading, american-lit
Read in April, 2010

I've never been a fan of the Transcendentalists, vastly preferring the English Romantics. Obviously the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but early on I found Emerson boring and Whitman weird. Surprisingly, though, this time around the force of so much of his poetry wore me down, and I actually enjoyed reading him. I still find his “look at how liberated and healthy I am to like the scent of armpits better than prayer” (which doesn’t have a scent but whatever) a bit off-putting. However, I find his paratactical style kind of delightful, and I appreciate his effort to show that small, fearful individuals can move toward calm, cosmic understanding and confidence, however little I personally want to commune with the rest of humanity, let alone everything in the universe.
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