Chiara Howe

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Research title: The Post-Transcendentalist Poetics of Walt Whitman

Research Summary

Title - Walt Whitman the ‘Brooklyn boy’: A Post-Transcendentalist Poetics of New York

My research takes Whitman’s New York-inflected transcendentalism as a geocultural phenomenon of New England transcendentalism. I am considering how one might place Whitman’s transcendentalist poetics on a continuum of transcendentalist philosophies with a view to characterising a distinctive New Yorker flavour of transcendentalism. I am especially interested in the different roles Brooklyn and Manhattan played in the development of Whitman’s transcendentalist poetics and in his ‘Brooklynite’ and ‘Manhattanese’ identities. Beyond the influence of important contexts in New York, such as the 1840s health crisis and the growth of erotica and pornography, my research will examine whether it is possible to trace across the different editions of Leaves the shift from Boston to New York as the literary centre of the US.

Additional Information


  • BrANCA (BritishAssociation NineteenthCenturyAmericanists), BAAS (BritishAssociationforAmericanStudies)