“The war is completed–the price is paid….”

15 Jul

The title for this course blog–“Respondez!”–is also the title of a Walt Whitman poem that first appeared in the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. (Whitman originally called it “Poem of the Propositions of Nakedness,” but that’s another story.) By 1881, Whitman had decided that it didn’t belong in Leaves of Grass anymore–it’s an extremely weird poem, even by Whitmanesque standards–so he deleted it. But the issues that he confronted in “Respondez!” were far from resolved in 1881.  The failure of Reconstruction (and the emergence of racist Jim Crow laws), the growth of corporate capitalism, the explosion of immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe (and the warehousing of new Americans in dangerously crowded tenements), highly-organized political corruption: these and other problems would animate texts produced by a broad spectrum of U.S. writers in the years between 1865 (the end of the U.S. Civil War) and 1914 (the entrance of the U.S. into World War I).  In this blog, you will have the opportunity to explore how U.S. writers used the resources of American English to represent, praise, critique, and influence the world around them. Respondez!


One Response to ““The war is completed–the price is paid….””

  1. Mr WordPress July 15, 2010 at 6:31 pm #

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

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