Carol M. Zapata-Whelan: On "For You O Democracy"

"Echoing the eugenics of his time, Whitman proposes to ‘make the most splendid race the sun ever shone upon.’ This program involves the poet’s ‘robust’ ‘manly love,’ a spiritual breeding of the new democracy ‘anneal’d’ into the ‘living union,’ proposed in Democratic Vistas (1871). . . . [T]he implications of ‘manly love’ are complex. From Richard Maurice Bucke’s defense of this feeling as strictly fraternal, to James Miller’s insistence that it is a sublimated homoeroticism, to Betsy Erkkila’s proposition that it involves a ‘homosexual republic,’ critics circumvent and circumscribe the question as their views dictate. With characteristic circumspection, Whitman will say only that the main message of ‘Calamus’ is in its ‘political significance.’"

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Criticism Overview
Title Carol M. Zapata-Whelan: On "For You O Democracy" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author J. R. LeMaster, Donald D. Kummings Criticism Target Walt Whitman
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 01 Jun 2020
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia
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