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重点论文网    文科论文    英语论文    论惠特曼作品中的自然
创建时间:12-06

论惠特曼作品中的自然


Contents

Abstract (in Chinese) ………………………………………………………………………….i
Abstract (in English) ...………………………………………….……….…………..ii
Introduction…………………………………………………………………………..1
Ⅰ. Nature — A combination of Vision Beauty and Sound Beauty………………..2
  A. On Vision Beauty ………………………………………………………………2
B. On Sound Beauty ……………………………………………………………….3
Ⅱ. Nature — A Unity of External and Internal Harmony……………………….5
  A. External Harmony……………………………………………………………….5
  B. Internal Harmony ……………………………………………………………….7
Ⅲ. Nature — A Reflection of the Author’s Living Background .........................10
  A. A Reflection of His Living environment ............................................................10
  B. A Reflection of 19th Century’s “ Back-to-nature” Movement............................11
Conclusion.......................................13
Notes………………………………………………………………………………....14
Bibliography………………………………………………………………………...15
  
摘 要

   沃尔特·惠特曼是十九世纪美国伟大的民主诗人,同时也是重要的自然诗人。除了歌颂自我和新兴的民族,惠特曼在他的《草叶集》里表达了一种热爱自然、回归自然的思想。基于对惠特曼的《草叶集》和《典型的日子》中的自然观的研究,这篇论文呈现了惠特曼作品中的自然。他的作品中有对大自然的纯美景象的直接描写,其中的自然不仅是视觉上的美,还给人以听觉的冲击。自然还是一个和谐的统一体。是自然万物之间和它们与人类的外在和谐以及万物生灵之间以及自然与人类的内在和谐。然而,自然作为诗人的一项重要题材有其选题背景。惠特曼作品中的自然其实是诗人生活所经环境的副本。另外,诗人作品中的自然也是对当时社会大环境的反映,即十九世纪兴起的“回归自然”运动。
关键词:自然;纯美;和谐;反映

Abstract 

Walt Whitman(1981-1892), one of the greatest democratic poets in the 19th cenctury’s America, is also an important natural poet. In addition to singing a song of the self and the rising new nation, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass expresses the thought of loving nature and returning to nature. Based on a review of Whitman’s view of nature in Leaves of Grass and an analysis of Specimen Days, this thesis presents an analysis of nature in Whitman’s works. As a representative of romanticism, Walt Whitman develops his contemporary poets’ view of nature. He respects the earth as Father and the ocean as Mother and compares himself to a blade of grass. His direct description of natural scenery shows his simple appreciation of pure beauty in nature unfolds the aesthetic significations in his pantheistic outlook on nature. Nature in his works is not only a simple combination of vision and sound beauty, but also a unity of external harmony and internal harmony. Human, in his view, is equal of all the other living beings in the world and they form a unified ecological system. Nature is where we live. It provides us with food, beautiful scenery. Moreover, it supports us spiritually. Human and nature are highly merged. The nature, chosen as a main subject in his works, is actually a reflection of the author’s living environment and social background. Nature is the source of literature creation and an answer to the 19th century’s “Back-to-Nature” movement. 
Keywords:  nature; beauty; harmony; reflection
 
Introduction

   Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, Long Island, to parents of Quaker background, Walter and Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. He was an American poet, essayist, journalist, and humanist. Proclaimed the "greatest of all American poets" by many foreign observers a mere four years after his death, he is viewed as the first urban poet. In 1823 the family moved to Brooklyn, where for six years Whitman attended public schools. It was the only formal education he ever received.    His mother taught him the value of family ties, and Whitman remained devoted to his family throughout his life, becoming, in a real sense, its leader after the death of his father. Whitman inherited the liberal intellectual and political attitudes of a free thinker from his father, who exposed him to the ideas and writings of the socialists Frances Wright and Robert Dale Owen, the liberal Quaker Elias Hicks, and the deist Count Volney. He was a part of the transition between Transcendentalism and Realism, incorporating both views in his works. His works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages. Whitman is among the most influential and controversial poets in the American canon. His work has been described as a rude shock and the most audacious and debatable contribution yet made to American literature. The themes of his poetry are mainly democracy, Americanism, freedom, etc. However, nature is an essential subject and tool in his poetry. Nature is a special and important theme in American literature. By singing for the nature, the poet expresses his love for nature and his hope of going back to nature. It presents what nature is like, how nature maintain harmonious with human and what stimulates the author to spend much of his time in writing nature. This paper will give an analysis of nature in Whitman’s poetry.


Ⅰ. Nature—A Combination of Vision Beauty and Sound Beauty

Like most England’s romantic poets, Whitman devotes boundless love for the field, mountains and rivers, grass and trees in the world of nature. The nature Whitman describes isn’t abstract. On the contrary, it is a concrete and real nature. In Whitman’s eyes, the big nature is a wonderful and colorful world of beautiful scenery, including blue sky, green forest, different flowers, lovely animals. In his ears, there resounds a symphony, composed of the melodious voice of little birds, the roaring of strong wind, the whistle of trees and the song of moving stream. The poet tries to show a real natural world before his readers.

A . On Vision Beauty
Whitman has his own poetics, the core of which is just what he points in his Leaves of Grass a passage between reality and the soul. However, in order to unearth the untouchable beauty and value, one must has a pair of eyes that are good at observing nature and ready to find beauty in it. In observing things, there is no doubt that Whitman is successful. Reading his Leaves of Grass, we can imagine taking a trip around America with the poet. All these he writes make us eager to see them personally: the broad Mississippi River, the magnificent Appalachian Mountains, the Great Lakes. The natural scenery is full of vision beauty. In his Out of May’s Shows Selected, he draws nature as it is: 

Apple orchards, the trees all cover’d with blossom;
Wheat fields carpeted far and near in vital emerald green;
The eternal, exhaustless freshness of each early morning; 
The yellow, golden, transparent haze of the warm afternoon sun;
The aspiring lilac bushes with profuse purple or white flowers. ①

Here we see a poet who isn’t thinking the truth of the universe, but is drinking in the beauty of nature. He gives a delicate description of natural substances. Wheat fields carpeted far and near in vital emerald green, they seem more colorful under the golden sunshine. And the purple or white flowers are undoubtedly a bright point of the scenery. In his Specimen Days, he shows us a volume of pictures of pure beauty: “The white cherry and pear-blows—the wild violets, with their blue eyes looking up and slauting my feet, as I saunter the wood-edge—the rosy blush of budding apple trees—the-clear emerald hue of the wheat-fields—the darker green of rhy—a warm elasticity pervading the air—the summer fully awakening—the convocation of black-birds.”②
 In addition to this, four seasons and various animals, birds and insects are all his describing objects. Nature is not still. It is always full of life and movements. The nature beauty is not freezing but moving all the time. Reading Whitman’s works, the readers can get a feeling of moving life and vigor. He writes in his Leaves of Grass: “ Aware of the fresh free giver the flowing Missouri, aware of mighty Niagara, Aware of the buffalo herds grazing the plains, the hirsute and strong-breasted bull, Of earth, rocks, Fifth-month flowers experienced, stars, rains, snow, my amaze.”③

B. On Sound Beauty
In Whitman’s works, there are full of musical rhythm and poetic melody. For the poet, nature sound is like music. It tells the readers lots of things in his changeable voice, such as the sound of grass’s growing, the dripping of a drop of rain, the singing of a bird and so on It’s one of the ways that help build human’s healthy spirit condition. 
Whitman likens the Milky River in the universe as a piece of transcedental symphony. He thinks that sounds in nature are filled with beauty which we have to   listen and feel by heart. In the buzz of the bees, the poet hears musical rhythm and poetic melody. The poet ever compared Beethoven’s Septettee to natural movement. In his poem, even a storm can makes a piece of music:

Proud music of the storm, 
Blast that careers so free, whistling across the prairies,
Strong hum of forest tree-top—wind of the mountains,
Personified dim shapes—you hidden orchestras, 
You serenades of phantoms with instruments alert,
Blending with Nature’s rhythmus all the tongues of nations;
You chords left as by vast composers—you choruses,④

When he hears fall’s wind, he says it is an old man’s long sigh in the sky, sorrowful and sad. Even in days without wind, he can still hear pine trees gave out rhythm of low voice. In his works, we can hear the running spring’s clear and melodious laughter, which is just like glasses clinking.
He spent a lot of time in the natural world and listened to the music of nature. He ever wrote this in his works. At sunset, he heard the pure clear sound of the meadow lark. An hour later, some notes, few and simple, yet delicious and perfect, from the bush-sparrow-towards noon the reedy till of the robin began. In the morning, he enveloped himself for two hours in the sound of bumble-bees and bird-music. In an apple tree, some russet-backed thrushes were singing their best. Then he would abound himself to hearing them, and indolently absorbing the scene. 
 

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