Research links

August 27, 2009 § 12 Comments

Use this category to post (by way of comment) suggested secondary sources, articles, links, ideas for possible research, further reading, or just something you find that might be of interest or relevance to our study of Emerson and Whitman. When you begin to dig into your own writing, including the final project, you can share some of your bibliography here–as Emerson puts it, we are of one mind.


§ 12 Responses to Research links

  • Kevin Breslin says:

    My final project will examine the relationship between Whitman’s poetic style and the poet that Emerson calls for in the essays Quotation and Originality, Poetry and Imagination, and the Poet. My main concern will be to come to terms with the 1855 Leaves of Grass so that I can see how Whitman was inspired by Emerson the writer and public speaker before he was obviously inspired by Emerson the friend. Something I may focus on is how Whitman does not perfectly match with Emerson’s description of the American poet. Tons of criticism focuses on Whitman as an Emersonian writer, it may be interesting to see how he is not an Emersonian writer, or to think deeper how he is not always a Whitmanian writer. He sometimes strays from his own vision of poetry in his 1855 preface. I am still looking for outside research to use.

  • allisonnovak says:

    McGray, Douglas. “”Hyper Texts.” Wired. December 2009. 78.

    McGray’s article discusses how Franco Moretti, a professor at Stanford, wants to turn classics into Hypertext items—so they become “searchable databases” for those who study them. One example he uses is searching for examples of morality by searching out the adjectives used to describe the actions and people in the text. I feel that this will be useful to me because it provides a modern way of looking at classic text, a category Whitman and Emerson fit into very well.

    My project will focus on how Whitman (and Emerson, to some degree) utilized the ideas of hypertext before hypertext existed. I want to connect them to modern day authors who utilize hypertext to see the similarities and differences between them.

  • knewborn2 says:

    “Intensive training and Sports Specialization in Young Athletes”. Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. Pediatrics 2000;106;154-157.

    This article focuses on the risk of injury due to overuse, overtraining, and stress associated with the specialization of young athletes. From the medical perspective, allowing a young athlete to intensely train for one sport can lead to physical and mental injuries that can inhibit the likelihood of higher level successes. The most detrimental risks include burnout- a child no longer wanting to participate in sports of any kind, stress fractures and tendinitis from overuse of certain areas of the body, and malnutrition due to lack of understanding about specific dietary needs.
    I will use this article to further my examination of the negative effect of the obsession with specialization across the board from athletics to education.

    Thesis: Specialization in all facets of life contributes to the breakdown in widespread social understanding of the “other” and to the tendency to develop symptoms of maladjustment as highlighted by Whitman and Emerson.

    Generally, I will be exploring the effect of educational and athletic specialization from a young age expanding into higher education ages in order to prove that narrow focus limits the ability of the student/athlete to become well-rounded and well adjusted.
    Whitman and Emerson both discuss the need for scholars to be well versed in all aspects of education- science and the humanities- in order to effectively understand the happenings around them.
    Whitman in Democratic Vistas writes, “I say there must, for future and democratic purposes, appear poets of higher class even than any of those- poets not only possess’d of the religious fire and abandon of Isaiah, luxuriant in the epic talent of Homer, or for proud characters as in Shakespeare, but consistent with the Hegelian formulas, and consistent with modern science” (1012).
    Emerson, in Divinity School, writes, “I look for the new Teacher, that shall follow so far those shining laws, that he shall see them come full circle; shall see their rounding complete grace; shall see the world to be the mirror of the soul; shall see the identity of the law of gravitation with purity of heart; and shall show that the Ought, that Duty, is one thing with Science, with Beauty, and with Joy” (81).

  • Sean Meehan says:


    Murphy, Walter, James Fleming and Sotirios Barber. American
    Constitutional Interpretation, second edition.The Foundation Press,
    Inc: Westbury, New York, 1995.

    I will use this, along with the constitution and the Violence Against
    Women Act, to support Whitman’s Democratic Vistas. This article
    depicts different ways to interpret the constitution, including
    textualism, originalism, doctrinalism, development, philosophic,
    systemic, structuralist and balancing methods. I will talk about how
    different methods allow for more growth in democracy and development
    of more equality for women. I will talk about how these interpretative
    methods helped pave the way for the Violence Against Women Act and
    other rights for women. I will link this to Whitman’s view of
    democracy and women. I hypothesize that literature, like Whitman’s
    work and the constitution, have shaped the development of norms and
    legislation in our democracy and the equality of women that we have

  • Sean Meehan says:


    Source: Cameron, Sharon. “The Way of Life by Abandonment: Emerson’s Impersonal.Critical Inquiry 25.1 (Autumn 1998): 1-31. JSTOR. Web. 6 Dec. 2009.

    Cameron’s article on “Emerson’s Impersonal” may be the most relevant piece of literary criticism I have found, with respect to the topic of self-identification and how it emerges in both “Experience” and “Nominalist and Realist.” In it she addresses Emerson’s definition of the self and the identity, which continues throughout these two works as well as “Compensation,” “The Over-soul,” and “Circles,” and boils it down to a few main principles: our personal identity is a set entity made of our bodies and brains, and we must understand how our identity involves an “extrification from emotion” (8). This author takes into consideration the “Reductionist View,” based in the belief that there exists nothing deeper to our identity than the here and now- the physical reality, void of any “experiential” memories or elements. Cameron makes explicit connections between the opening of “Experience” (the stair metaphor), and the central theme of “Nominalist and Realist,” which focuses on the “predictable entity” of identifying the self (13). However, she also criticizes the idea that anyone can ever truly understand Emerson’s view of experience and whether or not it builds a person, as piece concludes by assuring that Emerson’s works are contradictory, in essence, with respect to definitions of self-identity. “What is a person,” she asks before declaring that “no answer with any coherent substance can be produced with reference to Emerson’s writing” (31).
    This source, as it explores extensively the issues of self, experience, and identity, has allowed me to find direction for my roughly-outlined final writing project, and develop a more concise thesis.

    Topic: Emerson’s treatment of the experience and the identity of a person
    Texts: “Experience” and “Nominalist and Realist” (with the potential inclusion of “Uses of Great Men,” and “Montaigne”)
    Questions: How can humans find identity: through the accumulation of emotion and experience, or simply by the condition of their present, physical state?
    Thesis: Ralph Waldo Emerson, primarily in his Second Series Essays, “Experience,” and “Nominalist and Realist,” offers a critical perspective on the notions behind how humans establish a personal identity. Understanding the self as it is composed of a collection of physical conditions, the transcendentalist author assigns little worth to the emotional state of a person as it applies to identity, and thus delivers a valuable discussion on the consistency of the individual state.

  • mrohde2 says:

    Franck, Frederick. My Eye is in Love: Revelation on the Act of Seeing by Drawing. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1963

    Franck makes the case that the act of drawing is an act of seeing – seeing all thing as they are, and seeing the equality in everything. Drawing is an act of perception, and Franck believes that works which are created for the sake of ‘art’ and which seek to be ‘original’ do not truly represent what is drawn. He also notes that in drawings which accurately represent, even the most common and untrained eye will recognize truth, and therefore it is an art for all. Interestingly, he suggests that “man in the plural does not exist,” and rather, man exists as a singular, in which all are equal and worthy of “passionate attention.” I plan to relate these and other ideas of his to Whitman’s beliefs regarding representation, appreciation of the common, and the importance of seeing things as they are, and to use his ideas to strengthen and clarify my understanding of these concepts as Whitman perceives them. I would also like to answer the question of why truly seeing and appreciating the common is important to man.

  • emanemone says:

    Marks, Peter. “Critic Review of Swimming in the Shallows.” Washington Post 12 Feb 2008, Online.
    Permanent Link:,1138713/critic-review.html

    This article reviews a production that was done of Swimming in the Shallows, the play that I am using to compare and contrast to Whitman’s search for love in Calamus and Children of Adam. Marks critiques each aspect of the production in a way that will be useful in my critique of the production. I am focusing on, as stated above, Whitman’s search to figure out what love is and how to be alive through searching for and finding love, as demonstrated in the development of his works in Children of Adam and Calamus; I am using Swimming in the Shallows as a modern take on this quest.

  • krivara says:

    Weiland, Steven. “Emerson, Experience, and Experiential Learning”. Peabody Journal of Education Vol. 58, No. 3, Issues and Trends in American Education (Apr., 1981), pp. 161-167
    # Published by: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Taylor & Francis Group)
    # Stable URL:

    The article discusses Emerson’s thoughts on education as related to experiential learning, the effort to expand school curriculum to include practical experience. I want to do my project on education, especially the discrepancy between Emerson’s view of education versus the kind of No Child Left Behind program that only teaches children in order to prepare them for standardized tests.

  • Sean Meehan says:

    Fletcher, John Gould. “Walt Whitman.” The North American Review Mar., 1924. pp. 355-366. University of Northern Iowa. “Walt Whitman”

    The argument of this essay was that Whitman’s style of writing was created out of the message he wished to convey–that living should be an “unlimited adventure” (361)–and distinction for its times. Fletcher used examples from Whitman’s poetry, as well as comparisons to other poets to illustrate his point. This resource is useful because Fletcher is clear and concise in his points, and makes a strong argument about how Whitman’s style was created, as well as the legacy it created. My project is going to focus on Whitman’s literary style and how it affected poetry. It fanned the flames of change in mid-Victorian poetry from mannered to free poetry that expressed the personality and individuality of the writer instead of producing just another “product of the times.” I’m going to look at articles that study Whitman’s style, as well as other poets that have had Whitmanian influences. My likely thesis is that Whitman is the father of American Free Verse.

    –Emily Broderick

  • Sean Meehan says:

    Emerson biography:
    For reading into Emerson’s biography, you have several options available in our library.
    Robert Richardson, “Emerson: The Mind on Fire” (1995).
    Richardson also just published a brief look at “Emerson on the Creative Process” titled “First We Read, Then We Write.” Interestingly, Richardson is married to Annie Dillard.

    Most recently, Lawrence Buell, an Emerson scholar from Harvard, published “Emerson” (2003), a biography organized around topics. One of the chapters, “Emersonian Poetics” is on Blackboard reserve.

    Older biographies available include Ralph Rusk and John McAleer

  • Sean Meehan says:

    I mentioned in the first class several books/authors that have used and explored Emerson or Whitman from outside the perspective of American literature.

    The book on Whitman and his influence in American music is Bryan Garman, “A Race of Singers: Whitman’s Working-Class Hero from Guthrie to Springsteen.” (our library has copy).

    The Princeton professors I mentioned.
    George Kateb in politics: “Emerson and Self-Reliance”
    Cornel West in philosophy and religion: “The American Evasion of Philosophy” (looks at Emerson as root of pragmatic tradition)
    Jeff Stout in religion, a recent book that begins with Whitman: “Democracy and Tradition”

  • Sean Meehan says:

    Emerson’s Metaleptic Style: a close reading of Emerson’s style of writing by Eric Wilson that has a good eye on its dynamic nature (electricity is one of the focal points)

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