When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer Themes

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When applied to literature, the term romantic refers, very broadly, to the stress of the imagination and the senses over reason and logic. Pre-Civil War American romanticism has more specific associations, as does the philosophy of transcendentalism, and both of these terms are discussed in the historical context section below. But the particular strand of romanticism and transcendentalism that Whitman invokes in "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer" can be seen in poem's contrast between the value of the sensory imagination and the logical method of the scientific process in their approaches to the natural world.

The first quatrain concentrates on the mathematical logic of the scientific process, and the poem details the breakdown of data from the real world as it is arranged and ordered by science. Although there is a sense that the learned astronomer's ability to arrange the information in this...

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This section contains 1,007 words
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Buy the When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer Study Guide
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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.