Whitman, Women, and Privacy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the critical discussions of Walt Whitman by Richard Chase and Jane Bennett in order to show how critics have used the poet to address the disenchanting political, social, and cultural conditions of their own times, particularly Cold War normativity and drastic climate change respectively. Beyond offering critiques of their times, however, critics have discussed Whitman to suggest alternatives that foster positive attachments to social and environmental justice. Contending that critics always create a “Whitman” to suit their own investments, the chapter urges critics to be explicit about those investments in the poet. Doing so, the chapter argues, frees Whitman from the need to speak the critic’s investments, while allowing criticism to play a more positive role in the present.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe New Walt Whitman Studies
EditorsMatt Cohen
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781108296830
ISBN (Print)9781108419062, 9781108409438
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Publication series

NameTwenty-First-Century Critical Revisions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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