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Title:Philosophies, Themes and Symbols in the Poetry of Walt Whitman and Han Yong-Un (Religion, Patriotism, Democracy, Freedom, Independence)
Author(s):Kim, Young Ho
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, Asian
Literature, American
Abstract:Literary affinities discovered from religious, philosophical, and aesthetic perspectives may be traced in the poetry of the American Walt Whitman (1819-92) and the Korean Han Yong-Un (1879-1944). Even though no evidence of direct influence of Whitman on Han may be ascertained, there are numerous parallelisms in ideas, attitudes and visions in Whitman's Leaves of Grass and Han's Nim-Ui Chimmuck (Your Silence). Whitman and Han were representative national poets in their respective countries, where they conceived of themselves as spiritual leaders and political spokesmen. They both adapted the posture of philosopher, moralistic prophet, and social reformer. As zealous patriots both devoted their talents to constructing a new sense of nationalism in their respective nations. This nationalistic concern was rooted in their religious and philosophical backgrounds. From Emerson and other writers of New England, Whitman derived a combination of transcendentalism and democratic ideology; whereas Buddhist philosophy inspired in Han national aspiration for Korean freedom and independence.
Both poets described mystical experiences transcending reality and pursuing truth as a form of infinity. They were concerned about the illusions of life and the traumatic problem of the self. Each accepted suffering and death as the natural way to a new and higher life. They celebrated the divine soul, the existence of the divine spirit within "I and Thou" and within all things. Each maintained that every human is basically one, as brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of the same god. Each expanded and transformed this common monistic vision into his national and world views, Whitman's "democratic individualism of America" and Han's vision of Korean liberty. Poetic contemplators of the divine and spiritual, they became at the same time dynamic political leaders.
In their treatment of such themes as the self, nature, love, and nationalism, they exhibited a paradoxical mixture of inner ecstatic emotion and outer dedication to resolving public problems. Their poetry also has in common the use of symbolic images, particularly grass and the sea, reflecting notions of both tranquility and nationalistic activity--growing out of the complicated cultural, social and political conditions in each poet's background.
Issue Date:1985
Description:270 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1985.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8521803
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1985

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