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Walt Whitman Transcendentalism By the late 19th century Walt Whitman had become positioned at the forefront of the American cultural lexicon His poetry was at once brash dissonant and resoundingly erotic His raw unabashed poetry flew in the face of the prevailing ideals of his time Whitmans greatest literary accomplishment Leaves of Grass had set the ideas of divinity the hierarchy of the holy trinity and the ethereal perfection afforded these things into turmoil What he did was take the theologian ideas of perfection and divinity and juxtaposed them onto mankind and the world around him This theology of transcendentalism was the cornerstone theme throughout all of Whitmans writing Throughout Whitmans poetry there exists several major themes First the idea of the Holy Trinity of father-son-holy spirit is taken from a heavenly theological realm and brought into the present Second there is the idea of the Adamic myth of America whereupon mankind has found a temporal Garden of Eden in which to recreate himself and the world around him The final theme is that of the perfect order of the cosmos as the stage for which these things can happen Whitman makes the case that each individual each leaf of grass has its own place within nature Up until the time of Whitman the prevailing religious dogma of America had been one of strict adherence to traditional values and beliefs Approaching the turn of the century however sentiment for an alternative path had begun to grow Thus came the age of the Great Awakening The idea of a spiritual equality amongst all people had begun to spread across the country and Whitman was one of the biggest proponents What made Whitman controversial was not so much his embrace of an alternative religion but how he took the Christian ideals of otherworldly reverence and planted himself firmly on the middle The idea of the Holy Trinity in theology is that of the father-son-holy spirit
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