Vernon Lee (Violet Paget)

Whitman English

Walt Whitman


 1819~1892. He is the representative poet in the 19th century America. He is also called ‘the father of free poem’ and was a homosexual. His major work is Leaves of Grass (1855). It gave a great influence on poets of the later generation, but at the same time was criticized on the charge of its sexual expressions.

Leaves of Grass

 Vernon Lee rejected the offers of giving lectures because while speaking she often deflected from the subject. However, Lee thinks that is more interesting. That is, she thinks that “speak” is more attractive than "giving lectures." She sometimes accepted the offers, she tried to make her lectures consistent. When writing sentences, she couldn’t do it, and writes citing Whitman’s word: "Do I contradict myself? / Very well, then, I contradict myself."
 Lee mentioned Whitman in 'A Dialogue on Poetic Morality' in Belcaro. In this dialogue-style essay, one of the characters Cyril says: "such a man as Whitman has no immoral intention, nor is he immoral in the sense that Ariosto and Byron are sometimes immoral. The man is not a libertine, but a realist. He wishes people to live clean lives; all he says is, that everything which is legitimate, innocent, necessary in life, is also legitimate and innocent in literature. " Baldwin, a mouthpiece of Lee, agrees with Cyril.
 In The Spirit of Rome, Lee writes: “the Roman soil, a compost, as Whitman would say, ready manured!" In Vital Lies, she quotes Whitman’s 'Terrible Doubt of Appearances':
 Of terrible doubt of appearances
 Of the uncertainty that, after all, we may be deluded...
 To me these and the like of these are curiously answered
  by my lovers, my dear friends,
 When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long
  while holding me by the hand,
 When the subtle air, the impalpable, the sense that words
  and reason hold not,
 Surround us and pervade us,
 Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom,
  I am silent; I require nothing further;
 I cannot answer the question of appearances or that of
  identity beyond the graves;
 But I walk or sit indifferent, I am satisfied,
 He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me.

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