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Authors

Joan R. Wry

Peer Reviewed

1

Abstract

Reads Whitman’s Civil War poems “in the context of liminality, a cultural discourse that calls attention to margins and borderlines as transitional points but also focuses specifically on the ‘limen’ or the spaces between, as literal and conceptual sites of potential and illumination” and suggests that “in the more photographic poems, liminality provides Whitman with a framing technique, allowing him to sharpen his focus on the verisimilitude of a scene by delineating the outlines and interstices of the natural landscape,” while another use of liminality “calls attention to hospital spaces as literal and figurative symbols of transition for wounded or dying soldiers,” and yet another “mystical use of liminality allows Whitman to further define his role as an interpreting agent from the borderlines and margins of the war, the poet who gives meaning to the ultimate passage from life into death for all the nation’s dead.”

Rights

Copyright © 2009 The University of Iowa

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