News — american literature

Celebrating Whitman's Birthday With Whitmans Reading Whitman

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the scene in Brooklyn Bridge Park yesterday at the marathon reading of "Song of Myself"

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Happy Birthday, Walt Whitman

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Walt "Wally" Whitman, the erstwhile center fielder for the American Canons and pitcher for the Cosmic All-Stars, turns 193 today.  While very much the crafty veteran, the joy and exuberance with which Whitman takes the field while platooning with R.W. Emerson is evidenced in every bare-footed step he takes in the outfield grass. In celebration of his birthday, we're presenting an excerpt from his little-known poetic homage to his American Canons teammate and captain, Ahab. from "O Captain! My Captain!" O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful season's done;  The team has weatherd every series, the penant we sought is won;  The...

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Hester Prynne T-Shirt: Hester Prynne the Puritan, Pearl Prynne the American, & Roger Chillingworth with the Wampanoag Indians

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It's nearly Thanksgiving, and as our thoughts turn to pilgrims and American Indians, we also think of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.   It's true that Hester Prynne's story is in many ways a symbol of the problematic nature of a rigidly moralistic society--particularly as becomes subject to its own myriad hypocrisies, inspired by collective feelings of guilt and moral superiority.  But Prynne's story seems to us as also a richly nuanced and complicated fable of the birth of the United States, a kind of unruly bastard child born of romantic rule-breaking, manifested as defiant passions. (How much does that...

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