In Whitman East and West, fifteen prominent scholars track the surprising ways in which Whitman's poetry and prose continue to be meaningful at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Covering a broad range of issues—from ecology to children's literature, gay identity to China's May 4th Movement, nineteenth-century New York politics to the emerging field of normality studies, Mao Zedong to American film—each original essay opens a previously unexplored field of study, and each yields new insights by demonstrating how emerging methodologies and approaches intersect with and illuminate Whitman's ideas about democracy, sexuality, America, and the importance of literature.

Confirming the growing international spirit of American studies, the essays in Whitman East and West developed out of a landmark conference in Beijing, the first major conference in China to focus on an American poet. Scholars from Asia, Europe, and North America set out to track the ways in which Whitman's poetry has become part of China's cultural landscape as well as the literary landscapes of other countries. By describing his assimilation into other cultures and his resulting transformation into a hybrid poet, these essayists celebrate Whitman's multiple manifestations in other languages and contexts.

Roger Asselineau
Sherry Ceniza
Betsy Erkkila
Walter Grünzweig
Ou Hong
Guiyou Huang
M. Jimmie Killingsworth
Robert K. Martin
James E. Miller, Jr.
Joel Myerson
Wang Ning
Kenneth M. Price
Liu Rongqiang
Liu Shusen
M. Wynn Thomas

“This original collection will become one of the landmark studies of the poet in the twenty-first century. It presents the work of some of the best Whitman scholars and brings together voices from the East and West on this literary giant.”—Jerome Loving, author of Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself



Introduction: Whitman East and West - Ed Folsom


“Poets to Come…Leaving It to You to Prove and Define It”: Lucy Chen, Whitman, T. S. Eliot, and Poets Unknown - James E. Miller, Jr.

The Voluptuous Earth and the Fall of the Redwood Tree: Whitman’s Personifications of Nature

      - M. Jimmie Killingsworth

“O Divine Average!”: Whitman’s Poetry and the Production of Normality in Nineteenth-Century American Culture - Walter Grünzweig

Walt Whitman at the Movies: Cultural Memory and the Politics of Desire - Kenneth M. Price

“Where’s Walt?”: Illustrated Editions of Whitman for Younger Readers - Joel Myerson

A Dream Still Invincible?: The Matthiessen Tradition - Robert K. Martin

Whitman’s En Masse Aesthetics - Sherry Ceniza

Public Love: Whitman and Political Theory - Betsy Erkkila

Representatives and Revolutionists: The New Urban Politics Revisited - M. Wynn Thomas

Whitman on Asian Immigration and Nation-Formation - Guiyou Huang

Whitman’s Soul in China: Guo Moruo’s Poetry in the New Culture Movement - Liu Rongqiang

Pantheistic Ideas in Guo Moruo’s The Goddesses and Whitman’s Leaves of Grass - Ou Hong

Modernity and Whitman’s Reception in Chinese Literature - Wang Ning

Gu Cheng and Walt Whitman: In Search of New Poetics - Liu Shusen

Grass and Liquid Trees: The Cosmic Vision of Walt Whitman - Roger Asselineau



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Publication Details

Publication Date
Pages, art, trim size
258 pages, 19 drawings, 12 b&w photos, references, index