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Cultural Authority in the Age of WhitmanA Transatlantic Perspective$
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Gunter Leypoldt

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780748635740

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748635740.001.0001

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Whitman and the ‘Lawless Music’ of American Culture

Whitman and the ‘Lawless Music’ of American Culture

(p.1) Introduction: Whitman and the ‘Lawless Music’ of American Culture
Cultural Authority in the Age of Whitman

Günter Leypoldt

Edinburgh University Press

This introductory chapter discusses Walt Whitman and his ‘lawless music’. This musical trope is considered significant because it relates a ‘pure’ aesthetic form to a political practice. This implies that Whitmanian poetry not only talks about democratic issues, but that it also transforms the essence of democracy. The chapter furthermore looks at the American-Renaissance construction, Whitman's cultural parallelisms, and the division between Whitman and the poets of gentility.

Keywords:   Walt Whitman, lawless music, musical trope, aesthetic form, Whitmanian poetry, democratic issues, essence of democracy, American-Renaissance construction, cultural parallelisms, poets of gentility

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