Walt Whitman’s American Philosophy

Justin E. H. Smith in his blog:

6a00d83453bcda69e20192ab469d14970d-350wiI am able to read Walt Whitman only in small doses, for fear of being overpowered by a sort of rapturous assent, tears in my eyes, unable to comprehend how it is even possible to agree so fully with someone else. I’ve only known Whitman for a few years. When I was in my twenties, it was all Dostoevsky and Kafka and Beckett and Thomas Bernhard: the period of European literature that extends from that continent’s extreme unction up through its longwinded funeral orations. (Next came several years, wasted, in which I did not read any literature at all.) Now it's all Melville and Whitman and the ecstatic birth of the American empire. But especially Whitman. Only he manages to channel this history through his own body, to make himself into the living instance of both the work he is in the process of creating, as well as of the national destiny for which he, with stunning grandiosity, believes his work is a prophecy.

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