Walt Whitman | Critical Essay by Betsy Erkkila

This literature criticism consists of approximately 27 pages of analysis & critique of Walt Whitman.
This section contains 8,052 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Betsy Erkkila

Critical Essay by Betsy Erkkila

SOURCE: "Whitman and the Homosexual Republic," in Walt Whitman: The Centennial Essays, edited by Ed Folsom, University of Iowa Press, 1994, pp. 153-71.

In the following essay, Erkkila maintains that critics who focus on the centrality of sexuality, and particularly homosexuality, in Whitman's work typically distinguish between the private and public Whitman, and between the themes of homosexuality and democracy. Erkkila argues against this reading, stressing instead the relationship, rather than the distinction, between homosexuality and democracy in Whitman's poetry.

In a letter dated March 13, 1946, Malcolm Cowley wrote to Kenneth Burke: "I'm working on Whitman, the old cocksucker. Very strange amalgam he made between cocksucking and democracy."1 The letter itself seems strange coming from Malcolm Cowley, who in his famous 1959 introduction to the Viking edition of the 1855 Leaves of Grass became instrumental in the critical construction of Whitman as neither cocksucker...

(read more)

This section contains 8,052 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Betsy Erkkila