Essays

The Good Gray Poet and the Quaker Oats Man: Speaker as Spokescharacter in Leaves of Grass

Author: Brady Earnhart

  • The Good Gray Poet and the Quaker Oats Man: Speaker as Spokescharacter in Leaves of Grass

    Essays

    The Good Gray Poet and the Quaker Oats Man: Speaker as Spokescharacter in Leaves of Grass

    Author:

Abstract

Looks at how Whitman "invested Leaves of Grass with a human identity" and "offered the act of reading the mass-produced book as a corrective to the social disintegration that mass production itself had helped bring about"; goes on to examine the book in the context of "early modern advertising," arguing that "communing with 'Walt Whitman,' drinking milk with Elsie the cow, and eating bologna that has a first and a last name are acts that spring partly from a common set of cultural circumstances" surrounding the early development of advertising, and proposing that Whitman's "immersion in the rapidly growing advertising industry was a key factor in his learning the importance and some of the methods of making a mass-produced commodity feel like a close friend"; concludes that "Whitman's iconoclastic mix of poetry and advertising epitomizes his struggle to reconcile his visions of proletarian utopia and industrial capitalism."

How to Cite:

Earnhart, B., (2007) “The Good Gray Poet and the Quaker Oats Man: Speaker as Spokescharacter in Leaves of Grass”, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 24(4), 179-200. doi: https://doi.org/10.13008/2153-3695.1827

Rights: Copyright © 2007 Brady Earnhart

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Published on
01 Apr 2007
Peer Reviewed