Event Title

Walt Whitman and the politics of story: How Narrative acts as a Roadmap for the Consciousness

Presenter Information

Emily Ann Selden

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Art & Letters

Major

English

Location

RM 215-218

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Mary Boland

Start Date

5-27-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

5-27-2014 5:30 PM

Abstract

Walt Whitman proposed that the politics of mankind would be written by him or for him. David Kuebach uses Whitman’s political mythology building, as he argues that the “rational man” (117) needs myth. He contends that myth will be created and the question becomes who will create it? The nation’s authors or “political and economic groups bent upon their own self-interest” (129)? Other authors would corroborate this view as they describe literature as a type of topographic roadmap of the consciousness of not only an individual, but a community. The focus of this paper is to examine how controlled a society is by its narratives, the stories that are told on a mass scale and those of a much smaller scale. This research will explain the power of literature as a political tool and the reason that English, as a department, is such a valuable asset to the university and deserves a respected place in the system. Our narratives control everything. Albert J. Guérard from his work Literature and Society, sees literature taking the forefront in creating a cultural unity that defies borders. Using a myriad of examples-- such as the French revolution or medieval Europe, he creates a compelling argument of the importance of literature. Utilizing these and more sources to prove how integral narrative is to the consciousness of mankind, I will further examine the implications of how the power to tell the story is the ultimate power to control—whether expanding peace or destroying it.

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May 27th, 1:00 PM May 27th, 5:30 PM

Walt Whitman and the politics of story: How Narrative acts as a Roadmap for the Consciousness

RM 215-218

Walt Whitman proposed that the politics of mankind would be written by him or for him. David Kuebach uses Whitman’s political mythology building, as he argues that the “rational man” (117) needs myth. He contends that myth will be created and the question becomes who will create it? The nation’s authors or “political and economic groups bent upon their own self-interest” (129)? Other authors would corroborate this view as they describe literature as a type of topographic roadmap of the consciousness of not only an individual, but a community. The focus of this paper is to examine how controlled a society is by its narratives, the stories that are told on a mass scale and those of a much smaller scale. This research will explain the power of literature as a political tool and the reason that English, as a department, is such a valuable asset to the university and deserves a respected place in the system. Our narratives control everything. Albert J. Guérard from his work Literature and Society, sees literature taking the forefront in creating a cultural unity that defies borders. Using a myriad of examples-- such as the French revolution or medieval Europe, he creates a compelling argument of the importance of literature. Utilizing these and more sources to prove how integral narrative is to the consciousness of mankind, I will further examine the implications of how the power to tell the story is the ultimate power to control—whether expanding peace or destroying it.