Whitman here explores the physical body at length.
Gutman, Huck Print source: LeMaster and Donald D.
An Encyclopedia New York: Garland Publishing,reproduced by permission. As with the other poems in that edition, it appeared without a title.
After revision and the addition of what is now the final section of the poem, it appeared as "Poem of the Body" in the Leaves. In the edition it appeared in its present nine-section version, with its present title, as part of the "Children of Adam" sequence.
Unlike many of the other poems in the first edition of Leaves, "I Sing the Body Electric" has received relatively little critical attention. Many have criticized the final section, an extensive catalogue of the human body. Tenney Nathanson is typical when he says that the catalogue is "a struggle against alienation.
It is a struggle the poet seems to lose. What ought to be a ritual of repossession. Whitman was in his mid-thirties when he first turned to poetry, uncertain of himself yet determined to celebrate the glories of existence.
It is a paean of praise to the wonders of the sensual body. Section two asks the reader to consider the perfection of the body, devolving into a stream of images in which the poet looks at bodies with the gaze of sensual desire: The poet is attracted to all of these bodies, especially those of virile men, and sheds the rigid contours of his identity so that he can become close to them: By section four the poet is convinced that nothing is more satisfying than to admire the bodies of men and women: It is usual for Whitman to idealize the erotic attraction of women, something he does when he speaks of their "divine nimbus" and their function as "the bath of birth.
The poet, describing himself as "ungovernable," gives way, and reaches the heights of sexual climax in the lines which begin "Ebb stung" and end with "delirious juice.
But here a new note emerges, one which is likewise a constituent element of "Song of Myself. His is an antislavery argument, an argument derived perhaps from his Quaker background: The same red-running blood! Some critics are disconcerted that as Whitman moves from the body itself to the political importance of the body, he switches rhetorical modes, from the narrative rhapsodic to what Edwin Miller correctly assesses as the "forthrightly satirical" A contemporary analogue of such mixed modalities is Moby-Dick, published four years earlier.
Section 8 concludes with the curious questions about concealment, defilement, degradation with which the poem began.
Seen from this perspective, the poem is an assertion by the poet, to himself, that the sexual hungers which gnaw at him—hungers that we today recognize as an attraction to men—are legitimate because the body is so electric, so filled with a vital energy that attracts and a galvanic current that flows.
Whether simple celebration or complex self-assertion, the final section, added in the edition of Leaves, "makes sense as the climax of the poem," as Howard Waskow says It catalogues the glories of the body, moving from head to toe and from outer surfaces to inner organs and processes.
Yet despite exhortations to modify the poem, he did not. For two hours the two men walked the streets of Boston, Emerson arguing that Leaves of Grass would find the large audience it deserved only if Whitman cut some of the most sexual and bodily passages from "Body Electric" and other poems in the "Children of Adam" section.
It was an argument-statement, reconnoitring, review, attack, and pressing home.
Whitman the Political Poet. Walt Whitman and the Homoerotic Text. Southern Illinois UP, New York UP, Many titles in literature come from allusions, such as Ray Bradbury ’ s short story “ I Sing the Body Electric, ” which is a line taken from Walt Whitman ’ s collection of poems Leaves of Grass.
MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages. In "I Hear America Singing," Walt acknowledges the work of us regular guys.
The masons, the seamstresses, the stay-at-home moms, the boatmen—they're basically the nineteenth-century versions of cashiers and personal assistants, construction workers and secretaries. 'The Body Electric" was her intervention. There's much more in "The Longest War," including an indictment of politicians who seek to exert control over women's autonomy, and those states, 31, that give rapists who father children with their victims parental rights.
"A painstakingly researched book, sure in its thesis and apt in its presentation, this versatile study is of immediate appeal to those interested in music but will also be a valuable resource for those in gender studies, African American studies, American studies, and all concentrations of history.
Essay on Walt Whitman While reading, "I Sing the Body Electric," Whitman 's profound love of the body is extremely apparent. I found that I now have a better understanding of how he feels towards men, women and their bodies.