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The love of comrades : Walt Whitman and the British socialists.

Harris, Kirsten (2011) The love of comrades : Walt Whitman and the British socialists. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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In this thesis I exam me how fin de siècle British socialists engaged with Walt Whitman and his work. These were generally considered to be one and the same: the speaker in Leaves of Grass was understood to be Whitman, and Leaves of Grass was read as an extension of his personality. This underscores the appropriation of Whitman for the labour cause: his admirers not only used his words, but claimed the poet himself, often as a prophet as well as a poet. I argue that just as Leaves of Grass influenced the development of radical mystical and socio-political thinking, so were its reading and reception shaped by these ideological frameworks. I explore this relationship through articles, poems, books and speeches, many of which have received little or no critical attention, demonstrating how personal responses to Leaves o{Grass had an effect on the wider socialist community. Each chapter is concerned with a different socialist, or group of socialists, who read and responded to Whitman: first, Bolton's 'Eagle Street College', a reading group devoted to the poet; second, Edward Carpenter and his Whitmanesque poems in Towards Democracy; third, a selection of journalists who wrote in socialist publications; fourth, William Clarke and his book-length critique of Whitman. I finish with a comparative study of the use of 'Pioneers! 0 Pioneers!' by different figures within the socialist movement. My critical approach focuses specifically on the literary and political impact of the relationships between Whitman and his nineteenth-century 'disciples', complementing recent biographical scholarship in this field. The significance of Whitman to British socialism has long been recognised; however, though aspects of it have been critically discussed, this is the first extended study of the ways in which Whitman was responded to, interpreted, and used by British socialists.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > School of English (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.556646
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2017 14:54
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2017 14:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/14573

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