When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer Essay

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Trudell is an independent scholar with a bachelor's degree in English literature. In the following essay, Trudell discusses the place of Whitman's poem within Leaves of Grass as a whole in order to explore the context of its themes of personalism and spiritualism.

"When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" is included in the "By the Roadside" section of Leaves of Grass in accordance with Whitman's wishes, since this was the poem's location when Whitman declared that all future printings should match the 1892 edition. The poem had not always been in this group, however; it was originally published in the separate Civil War collection Drum-Taps and was included in the "Drum-Taps" addendum to the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass. Then, in the 1871 and 1876 editions, the poem was printed in the "Songs of Parting" section, the final group in the collection. It was not until 1881 that it was placed into...

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This section contains 1,751 words
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Poetry for Students
When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.