Critical Comparisons Between Whitman And Dickinson

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Critical Comparisons Between Whitman And Dickinson

Godey's Magazine, November, 1896, printed: "[Emily Dickinson] and Walt Whitman and Poe are this nation's most original contributions to the world's poetry. Poe was typical only to Poe. But Emily Dickinson and Whitman, with their unbending comradery with God and humanity, are our best realizations of the distinctively American spirit." Both Dickinson and Whitman are regarded as the founders of modern American poetry. Walt Whitman(1819-1892), for the time was breaking new ground with his diverse, energetic verse with regards to subject matter, form and style whether talking about overlooked things in nature such as a single blade of grass or even our own hearing. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), while living a life of seclusion, never really leaving her birthplace, was very adventurous internally. She was well read in English literature, often deeply exploring her own thoughts. While Whitman and Dickinson are referred to as founders of modern American poetry, they are strikingly different in terms of stylistic devices and subject matter.

The poem. "Once I passed through a Populous City," by Whitman, is characteristic of his long, open lines. "Once I pass'd through a populous city imprinting my brain for future use with its shows, architecture, customs, traditions,..."His poems are large and expansive, the lines long and visually descriptive. Dickinson, however, is just on the contrary. His poem is like a picture, tells you clearly what he wants you to see. He also likes to use parallelism.

I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine,

I too walked the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it,

I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,

In the day among crowds of people sometimes they came upon me,

In my walks home late at night or as...