ultimate questions; he asserts them.
Instead of marshaling and sifting the proofs for immortality, he chants “I know I am deathless.”
shares that peculiarly American type of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, but he came at the end of this movement instead of at the beginning of it. In his Romanticism, likewise, he is an end of an era figure.
His affiliations with Victor Hugo
are significant; and a volume of Scott
's poems which he owned at the age of sixteen became his “inexhaustible mine and treasury for more than sixty years.”
Finally, and quite as uncompromisingly as Emerson
, and Poe
is an individualist.
He represents the assertive, Jacksonian period of our national existence.
In a thousand similes he makes a declaration of independence
for the separate person, the “single man” of Emerson
's Phi Beta Kappa address.
“I wear my hat as I please, indoors and out.”
Sometimes this is mere swagger.
Sometimes it is superb.
So much for the type.
Let us turn next to the story of Whitman
It must here be told in the briefest fashion, for Whitman
's own prose and poetry relate the essentials of his biography.
He was born on Long Island
, of New England