Special Collections Talk: “Singing the Body Electric: Opera, Democracy, and Voice in the Poetry of Walt Whitman”

The University Libraries’ Special Collections will host a talk by Dr. Robert P. Wilson, adjunct lecturer of English, on “Singing the Body Electric: Opera, Democracy, and Voice in the Poetry of Walt Whitman.” at noon Thursday, October 3, LN-2320, Bernard F. Huppé Reading Room. In his later years, Walt Whitman suggested that a “philosopher musician” reading Leaves of Grass could not help but hear the echoes of the poet’s many enraptured encounters with music, especially opera. “Singing the Body Electric” amplifies this influence by identifying Whitman’s notion of “vocalism” — the divine power of a body to sound its speech, its song, and its “barbaric yawp” — as the essence of poetic, musical, and democratic performance. A brief tour of the exhibit “Leaves of Grass: Walt Whitman’s Masterwork” and a viewing of the first edition will follow the talk. All are welcome.

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Contact Blythe Roveland-Brenton

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