Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster

There are at least a few folks following who share an interest in mid-to-late 19th Century American lit/its influence on early 20th Century lit, so I thought I’d share a link. For those who might like to explore other free course offerings, here’s the university’s course page


“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem…” from Leaves of Grass, Preface (1855), par. 8

Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster


The journey from episode 1 to 8: bed as metaphor. What beautiful visual language. So many layers. From spartan and empty, unsettled and transitory to supported, reliant, tethered and connected. Though it’s not wholly positive, it’s ambivalent: he is raised up, but also constrained; he is older, sicker, changed, but also the same, in similar white bed sheets, in a room that is still not home.


“‘It must be somethin’ from away off in the sky like the men from the college last year says the meteor stone was. The way it’s made an’ the way it works ain’t like no way o’ God’s world. It’s some’at from beyond.’”

“It was a scene from a vision of Fuseli, and over all the rest reigned that riot of luminous amorphousness, that alien and undimensioned rainbow of cryptic poison from the well—seething, feeling, lapping, reaching, scintillating, straining, and malignly bubbling in its cosmic and unrecognisable chromaticism.”
H.P. Lovecraft,The Colour Out Of Space