Walt Whitman is undoubtely one of the most significant American poets of all times. He was born on May 31st 1819 and lived in a turbulent period of American history – a time of sunrise of today's American way of life – «the American dream», when a new political (democratic) ideologies were to be raised - a need for a whole new American identity which was yet to be created. Of course, immediately a new kind of literature and nacional poets started to develop, and Whitman was the first of them all.
His work had been greatly influenced by all of these, but perhaps the political events and the changes that followed these were the most influential: the American Revolution (1754 – 1775), the Declaration of Independence (1775) and the War of Independence against British that took place almost imediately after (1775 – 1784), the French Revolution (1778 – 1799) which had had a huge impact on him as he will use their the main political motto – fraternity, equality and freedom - as a main idea in most of his writings. But perhaps the most influential was from the Civil War (1850 – 1865), which, after paying a visit to his wounded brother and seeing the torments of broken soldiers, he joined working as a nurse.
Some of these events are recalled in his best pieces of poetry (published by himself in Leaves of grass – his collection of poems which was re-published and extended several times) - poetry which is in an almost full extent symbolic of freedom and democracy, as well as emotions and beliefs : O, Captain, my Captain! (which is a poem of Abraham Lincoln whom Whitman admired), Song Of The Open Road, For You O Democracy and Song Of Mysef. His themes are obviously derived from all of these influences – he regarded himself as a spokesman of the new American time and culture, celebrating democracy, freedom and equality which are to be seen as the basis on which a new country will be built.
But, not only was he innovative and first in the sense of the...