Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION.*

guage and

“Who goes there? hankering, gross, mystical, nude ; hankering like the great elk in the forest in springtime; gross as unhoused Nature is gross; mystical as Boehme or Swedenborg ; and so far as the concealments and disguises of the conventional man, and the usual adornments of polite verse, are concerned, as nude as Adam in Paradise.” Indeed, it was the nudity of Walt Whitman's verse, both in respect to its subject-matter and his mode of treatment of it, that so astonished, when it did not repel, his readers. He boldly stripped away everything conventional and artificial from man, clothes, customs, institutions, etc., and treated him as he is, primarily, in and of himself and in his relations to the universe; and with equal boldness he stripped away what were to him the artificial adjuncts of poetry, - rhyme, measure, and all the stock lan

ns of the schools, — and planted himself upon a spontaneous rhythm of language and the inherently poetic in the common and universal.

The result is the most audacious and debatable contribution yet made to American literature, and one the merits of which will doubtless long divide the reading public. It gave a rude shock to most readers of current poetry; but it was probably a wholesome shock, like the rude douse of the sea to the victim of the warmed and perfumed bath. The suggestion of the sea is not inapt; because there is, so to speak, a briny, chafing, elemental, or cosmic quality about Whitman's work that brings up the comparison, a something in it bitter and forbidding, that the reader must conquer and become familiar with before he can appreciate the tonic and stimulating quality which it

* Copyright, 1897, by R. S. Peale and J. A. Hill.

9

[graphic][merged small]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »