详细内容

Chapter 7 Whitman and Dickinson

上课时间

 

上课节次

 

课 型

Theory and practice

课 题

Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson

教学目的

Aim of knowledge: 1. To make students get to know the major representatives of the poets of American High Romanticism.

                 2. To make students get the general idea about the features and significance of Leaves of Grass, and writing style and themes of Emily Dickinson

Aim of ability: training of the ability to analyze poems contrasting traditional writing styles and

             free verse.

Aim of quality: simulate the students’ interest in poems

教学方法

Lecture, discussion, PPT presentation

重点、难点

Key points: Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Emily Dickinson’s writing style and themes

Difficulties: Whitman’s ideals about democracy and freedom and new individual images in Leaves of Grass 

时间分配

90mins

教 学 内 容

板书或课件版面设计

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Step1 Preview Question

Discuss One's Self I Sing on P61 written by Whitman, I'm Nobody on P66 written by

Emily Dickinson and To Helen on P59 written by Poe, and compare and contrast these

three poems' similarities and differences. (From themes and writing styles)

 

Step2 Walt Whitman1819—1892)

Ⅰ. His Life

Born in 1819 on Long Island, New York;

Poor & Semiliterate parents, only 5-6 years formal education, self-educated;

Worked as office boy, printing worker, school teacher, free-lance writer, carpentry, correspondent & other odd jobs;

Died in 1892, unmarried all his life.

 

(以下为补充资料)

Born on May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was the second son of a house-builder.

Largely self-taught, he read a lot, becoming acquainted with the works of Shakespeare, Emerson and the Bible.

In 1836, at the age of 17, he began his career as teacher in Long Island. He continued to teach until 1841, when he turned to journalism as a full-time career.

In the fall of 1848, he founded a "free soil" newspaper

In 1855, first edition of Leaves of Grass, which consisted of twelve untitled poems and a preface.

second edition in 1856(thirty-three poems, a letter from Emerson praising the first edition, and a long open letter by Whitman in response)

“I was simmering(即将爆发),simmering, simmering,” he said, “Emerson brought me to a boil.”

                                                        ------Walt Whitman

“I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of Leaves of Grass. I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed. I am very happy in reading it, as great power makes us happy... I greet you at the beginning of a great career…”

                                                             ----Emerson

Whitman struggled to support himself through most of his life.

After his death on March 26, 1892, Whitman was buried in a tomb he designed and had built on a lot in Harleigh Cemetery哈利公墓 .

 

. Influence

(Ⅰ) His Influence

1. He is recognized as a father figure who led the break from the past.

 He has been compared to a mountain in American literary history.

2. Leaves of Grass, either in content or in form, is an epoch-making work in American literature:

→Its democratic content marked the shift from Romanticism to Realism.

→Its free-verse form broke from old poetic conventions to open a new way for American poetry.

Whitman’s writing style has a worldwide influence over modern poetry.

《草叶集》从第一版到第九版,经历了坎坷的历程,其中充满了激烈的争论。这种争论在诗人逝世后100多年的时间里仍然在延续。19世纪后叶至20世纪全世界所有文学大师几乎无一例外地都在一生中的某个时刻向惠特曼的《草叶集》行过注目礼。

 

(Ⅱ) Influences upon Him

1. Influence from the Enlightenment

as embodied in Jefferson and Pain), ideals of the rights and dignity of the individual , toleration, humanitarianism(人道主义), cosmopolitanism(世界主义) and idealism

  2. Influence from Transcendentalism

reliance on insight and intuition, infinite power of man to gain knowledge by merging into nature

  3. Influence from Emerson

1)The poet is a seer, universal man.

America is a poem in our eyes, American Poet is a universal man. (Emerson)

The greatest poet breathes into the world the grandeur and life of universe. (Whitman)

2) poetry is organic, natural.

Art should be based organically on nature , poetry grows out of nature; a poem is alive and passionate like the spirit of a plant/animal from nature. (Emerson)

The rhyme and uniformity of perfect poems show the free growth of metrical laws and bud… as lilacs and roses on a bush…(Whitman)

3)Both men believed in insight and intuition of man.

I greet you at the beginning of a great career,…I rubbed my eyes a little, to see if this sunbeam were no illusion.

                                         ----Emerson, 21th July, 1855

 

Ⅲ. Works

Leaves of Grass (9 editions)——a collection of poems (9 editions :12 poems -over400 poems)

It marked the birth of truly American poetry, which changed Whitman from a conventional, undistinguished man into one of America’s greatest and most original poets. It has attained almost universal acceptance as America’s greatest book of poems. It has been praised as “Democratic Bible” and as American Epic(共和圣经/美国史诗)

1855年7月,美国诗歌史上的第一声春雷炸响了——惠特曼出版了《草叶集》。《草叶集》第一版只有薄薄的94页,包括12首诗作。到了1892年的“临终版”,原本的小册子已经发展成了收集401首诗歌的洋洋大卷。

诗集得名于其中这样的一句诗:“哪里有土,哪里有水,哪里就长着草。”

 

1. The Significance of the Title

1) Where there is earth, where there is water, there is grass.

  2) Grass, the most common thing with the greatest vitality, is an image of the poet himself.

3) a symbol of the rising American nation, and an embodiment of his ideals about democracy and freedom.

草叶:随处生长,最富有生命力。

1)象征普通人;

2)象征发展中的美国;

3)象征自己关于民主、自由的理想和希望。

 

2. Themes

1)Transcendent power of love, brotherhood, and comradeship

2)Imaginative projection into others’lives

3)Optimistic faith in democracy and equality

4)Belief in regenerative and illustrative powers of nature and its value as a teacher

5)Equivalence of body and soul and the unabashed exaltation of the body and sexuality

 He extols the ideal of equality of things and beings, democracy, nature, labor and creation, openness, and freedom; celebrates man’s dignity, the self-reliance spirit, the individual value and brightest future of mankind; praises the expansion of America; emphasis on brotherhood and social solidarity (unity of nations in the world); expresses his pursuit of love and happiness, his ideas about death, and beauty of death; attacks the slavery system and racial discrimination

《草叶集》的基本主题    

编排顺序是跟诗歌主人公的出生、成长和老死这三个阶段基本一致的,是跟诗歌三大主题紧密联系在一起的。长诗的主题是:

1)认真探究、论述和歌颂“自我”“个人”和“个人生活”;

2)热烈赞扬民主和热爱独立与自由的美国人;

3)勇敢表达了诗人自己对生、死、再生和永生的思想和态度。

 

Viewpoints of democracy and individualism in Leaves of Grass

1)Walt Whitman is a poet with a strong sense of mission, having devoted all his life to the creation of the “single” poem, Leaves of Grass .

2)In this giant work, openness, freedom, and above all, individualism are all that concerned him.

3)His aim was to express some new poetical feelings and to initiate a poetic tradition in which difference should be recognized

4)The poet should behave as supreme individualist.

5)However, the poet’s essential purpose was to identify (identify A with B 使A与B 等同)his ego with the world, and more specifically with the democratic “en-masse” of America, which is established in the opening lines of “Songs of Myself.” Two people could be “twain yet one:” their paths could be different, and yet they could realize a kind of transcendent contact. Equally, many people could realize a community while remaining individuals.

 

3. Artistic Features

1) Poetic Style

① Most about man and nature, especially common people and ordinary Americans.

② Message was more important than form.

③ Use of conventional image

④ The use of a certain pronoun “I”: He uses the first person pronoun “I” to stress individualism, and oral language to acquire sympathy from the common reader.

 2) Language Style

Free verse: Free verse has no regular rhythm or line length and depends on natural speech rhythms and the counterpoint (对照法) of stressed and unstressed syllables.

惠特曼创造了一种新型诗体:自由体诗。即不受格律、韵脚的限制和束缚,人的思想和语言得以自由发挥。

a. A looser and more open-ended (自由任意的)syntactical structure;

  b. few compound sentences;

 c. conversational and casual, in the fluid, expansive, and unstructured style of talking, like one of the ordinary men.

strong tendency to use oral English

vocabulary – powerful, colorful, rarely-used words, words of foreign origins, sometimes even wrong words

  d. to create a different wave of feelings by cataloguing concrete things .

  e. Musicality: a strong sense of rhythm + parallelism + phonetic recurrence.

Parallelism (repeat the idea with minor changes): The line is the rhythmical unit.

phonetic recurrence“同字起句法”: the repetition of words and phrases at the

beginning of the line, in the middle or at the end

 

For Example:

I celebrated myself, and sing myself,

And what I assume you shall assume,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you

 

4. Appreciate Song of Myself
    “Song of myself”, consisting of 1345 lines, is the longest poem in Leaves of Grass. The poet takes for granted the self as the most crucial element of the world and thus sets forth two of his principal beliefs: first, a theory of universality(广泛性); second, all things are equal in value. 

1) Song of Myself(1)

I celebrate myself, and sing myself (celebrate: praise; honor)

我赞美我自己,歌唱我自己,

And what I assume you shall assume, (assume: admit; perceive)

我承担的你也将承担,

For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

因为属于我的每一个原子也同样属于你.

I loafe and invite my soul, (loafe: (=loaf) wander; move freely)

I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass. (a spear of: a narrow piece of)

我闲步,还邀请了我的灵魂,我俯身悠然观察着一片夏日的草叶

My tongue, every atom of my blood, formed from this soil, this air,
我的舌,我血液的每个原子,是在这片土壤、这个空气里形成的,

Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,

是这里的父母生下的,父母的父母也是在这里生下的,他们的父母也一样,

I, now thirty seven years old in perfect health begin,

我,现在三十七岁,一生下身体就十分健康,

Hoping to cease not till death

希望永远如此,直到死去。

Creeds and schools in abeyance, (the condition of not being in use or in force.)

信条和学派暂时不论,

Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten, (sufficed: enough, they: the creeds and schools)

且后退一步,明了它们当前的情况已足,但也决不是忘记,

I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard, (harbor: accept; admit) (at every hazard: whenever; in any case)

不论我从善从恶,我允许随意发表意见,

Nature without check with original energy. (check: considering)

顺乎自然,保持原始的活力。

 2) Song of Myself(10)

Alone far in the wilds and mountains I hunt,

我独自在遥远的荒山野外等待猎物的出现,

Wandering amazed at my own lightness and glee,

深深地惊喜于我的轻快和昂扬,

In the late afternoon choosing a safe spot to pass the night,

在天晚时寻觅了一个安全的地方过夜,

Kindling a fire and broiling the fresh-kill'd game,

燃起火,烤熟了刚猎到的野味,

Falling asleep on the gather'd leaves with my dog and gun by my side.

我全身酥软地躺在集拢来的叶子上,我的狗和枪躺在我的身旁。

The Yankee clipper is under her sky-sails, she cuts the sparkle and scud,

高扬风帆的美国人的快舰,冲过了闪电和雷雨。

My eyes settle the land, I bend at her prow or shout joyously from the deck.

我的目光投向遥远的陆地,我在船盖上弯着腰,或者在舱面上欢快地说笑。

The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for me,

水手们和拾蚌人早早地起来等待着我,

I tuck'd my trowser-ends in my boots and went and had a good time;

我将裤脚塞在靴筒里,上岸去撒开性子玩了个痛快。

You should have been with us that day round the chowder-kettle.

那一天,你真应该和我们一起,围坐在野餐小锅的四周。

I saw the marriage of the trapper in the open air in the far west,

在远处的地方,我目睹过猎人在露天举行的婚礼,

the bride was a red girl,

新娘是一个红种女人,

Her father and his friends sat near cross-legged and dumbly smoking,

她的父亲和他的朋友们在旁边盘腿坐下,不做声息地吸着烟,

they had moccasins to their feet and large thick blankets hanging from their shoulders,

他们都穿着鹿皮鞋,肩披厚大的毡条。

On a bank lounged the trapper, he was drest mostly

in skins, his luxuriant beard and curls protected    

his neck, he held his bride by the hand,

She had long eyelashes, her head was bare, her 

coarse straight locks descended upon her 

voluptuous limbs and reach'd to her feet.

这个猎人慢悠悠地信步河上,几乎全身都穿着皮衣,

他的蓬松的胡子和卷发掩盖了他的脖领,

他和新娘手挽着手,

她的睫毛很长,没戴帽子,她的粗而直的头发

披散在她丰满的四肢上,一直到了她的脚踝。

The runaway slave came to my house and stopt outside,

I heard his motions crackling the twigs of the woodpile,

Through the swung half-door of the kitchen I saw him limpsy and weak,

And went where he sat on a log and led him in and assured him,

And brought water and fill‘d a tub for his sweated body and bruis’d feet,

逃亡的黑奴来到我的屋子,躲在屋外。

我听见他碰响木桩上的小枝。

从厨房的半掩弹簧门我看见他是那样虚弱无力,

我走到他所坐着的木头边领他进来,告诉他不必慌张。

我慢慢地盛了一桶水让他擦洗他的汗垢的身体和负伤的脚,

And gave him a room that enter‘d from my own, and gave him some coarse clean clothes,

And remember perfectly well his revolving eyes and his awkwardness,

And remember putting plasters on the galls of his neck and ankles;

He staid with me a week before he was recuperated and pass'd north,

I had him sit next me at table, my fire-lock lean'd in the corner.

我把他安置在一间由我的住屋进去的屋子,

给他一些干净的粗布衣服。

我现在还清楚地记得他四处打量和他局促不安的模样。

记得涂了些药膏在他的颈上和踝骨受伤了的地方,

他和我住了一个星期,在他复元后,投奔北方走了。

我让他在我旁边紧靠桌子坐着,屋角上

斜放着我的火枪。

    (1) Three Themes

    ① The idea of the self;

    ② The identification of the self with other selves;

    ③ The poet’s relationship with the elements of nature and the universe.

    (2) Images & Symbols

    ① Houses and rooms represent civilization;

    ② Perfumes signify individual selves;

    ③ The atmosphere symbolizes the universal self.

The self is conceived of as a spiritual entity which remains relatively permanent in and through the changing flux of ideas and experiences which constitute its conscious life. The self comprises ideas, experiences, psychological states, and spiritual insights. The concept of self is the most significant aspect of Whitman’s mind and art.

 

Step 3: Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886)

1. Works

(1)Because I Could Not Stop for Death 《因为我不能等待死神》

(2)I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died 《我死时听到了苍蝇的嗡嗡声》

(3)Im Nobody. Who Are You? 《我是无名小卒!你是谁?》

(4)This is My Letter to the World 《这是我给世界的一封信》

 

2. Appreciate I’m Nobody

Discussion (P66)

 (1) What do "frog"and "bog" mean?

 (2) What is the theme of this poem?

 (3) Do you want to be "nobody"or "somebody"? Explain your reasons.

 

3. Style and Themes

Her poems are characterized by the abundant use of dashes, and irregular and often idiosyncratic punctuation and capitalization and clear-cut and delicately original imagery, precise diction and fragmentary pattern.

Her themes include love, nature, friendship, death and immortality.

 1) telling images, striking, suggestive and connotative sometimes incomprehensible

2) a severe economy of expression

3) direct and plain words, simple syntax

4) faulty grammar

  • --no regular rhyme
  • --unusual capitalization
  • --unusual use of punctuation marks

5) Written largely in meters common to Protestant hymn books, her poems employ irregular rhythms, off- or slant rhymes

(不工整韵,指元音不同或辅音不同的韵脚,如lid和lad, eyes和light),

6) paradox,

7) a careful balancing of abstract Latinate and concrete Anglo-Saxon words. 

8) Her lines are gnomic(格言式的) and her images kinesthetic(动感的),

9) highly concentrated, and intensely charged with feeling.

10) Her greatest lyrics were on the theme of death, which she typically personified

11) as a monarch, a lord, or a kindly but irresistible lover, yet her moods varied widely

  1. from melancholy to exuberance, grief to joy, leaden despair to spiritual intoxication.

 

4. Contrast to Whitman Whitman

They are similar: both are unique, not imitative in themes and techniques

    1) in themes both extolled (praised highly) an emergent America, its expansion, individualism and Americanness, their poetry part of American Renaissance, both had transcendental influence: death, eternity

    2) techniques: break free of the convention of the iambic pentameter, show a freedom in form unknown before.

They are different:

    They stood at the opposite ends (poles) on one axis:

    Whitman keeps his eye on society at large, national, uses endless, all-inclusive

Catalogs; Dickinson explores the inner life of the individual, self/soul examining,

regional, simple and direct diction and syntax, experiments with language, use of images

 

Whitman                     Dickinson

society at large                inner life of the individual

“national”                    “regional”

endless, all-inclusive catalogs    the concise, direct and simple diction and syntax

macrocosmic                 microcosmic

 

Step 4: The Difficulties and Key Points

Key Points: Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Emily Dickinson’s writing style and themes

Difficulties: Whitman’s ideals about democracy and freedom and new individual images

           in Leaves of Grass   

 

Step 5: Homework

Appreciate Success Is Counted Sweetest on P65 and answer the following questions:

1. Why is success "counted sweetest by those who ne'er succeed"?

2. Who are "the purple host"?

3. Do you agree success is counted sweetest? Give us your opinions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

教学后记