ONLINE: Our class will read and discuss all of “Song of Myself” and the preface to the 1855 "Leaves of Grass." The preface is considered “one of the important landmarks of American literary criticism, and it has continued to exert influence on modern literature,” according to the introduction in our Norton text. Walt Whitman is one of America’s greatest poets, and “Song of Myself” is probably his finest poem. It is rich with detail, scenes and characters, ideas, and themes. Some of the poem is easily accessible, some is challenging. Among his subjects and themes are equality of men and women, body and soul, socioeconomic levels, courage, robustness, independence, self-confidence, optimism, compassion, love, and freedom. Whitman writes of the presence and mystery of God, despises materialism, includes sexuality, praises America and Democracy, opposes slavery. This course is text focused: during meetings we will read, analyze, and discuss selected passages. | Facilitated discussion.