Discussion Forum on Whitman Leaves of Grass

When published, Leaves of Grass provoked strong reactions:

Rufus Griswold called it “a mass of stupid filth.”
John Greenleaf Whittier reportedly burned his copy.
One London review said that Leaves of Grass proves that the fields of American literature need weeding.
Another London review said that Whitman should be publicly flogged.

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1. What, in the text, might have provoked these reactions? Please, give at least two examples from the text.

Of course, not all reviews were negative:

Putnam’s read, “It is a mixture of Yankee transcendentalism and New York rowdyism, and, what must be surprising to both these elements, they here seem to fuse and combine with the most perfect harmony.”
Whitman used his print contacts to write laudatory reviews of his own work: “An American bard at last!” read one.

2. What, in the text, might have provoked these reactions? Please, give at least two examples from the text.

Decide which side you would take and justify it. (1-3 sentences).
Post your answers by 2 PM today (150 words minimum covering all 3 questions/requirements). Reply to one of your peer’s post by 5 PM (100 words minimum)

Be mindful of content, form and grammar: you are graded on completion, depth (going beyond the obvious in your writing), and form/grammar. You can be friendly and yourself, but censor inappropriate language, please.

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