Original Research

The urge to begin anew: Visions of America in some American long poems

T. Ullyatt
Literator | Vol 18, No 1 | a532 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v18i1.532 | © 1997 T. Ullyatt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 1997 | Published: 30 April 1997

About the author(s)

T. Ullyatt, English Department, Free State University, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Abstract

The basic purpose of this article is to survey the visions of America embodied in a number of American long poems from different literary periods. Since there have been a considerable number of long poems written in America during its almost 350-year history, it has been necessary to make some stringent selections. The texts used here have been chosen for their literary-historical importance. Starting with Michael Wigglesworth's 1662 poem, The Day of Doom, the article proceeds to the work of Joel Barlow and, to a lesser extent, Philip Freneau from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries before approaching Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass from the late nineteenth century, and Alien Ginsberg's poem. Howl, from the mid-twentieth century.

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