• The Modern Scholar

  • Walt Whitman and the Birth of Modern American Poetry
  • By: Karen Karbiener
  • Narrated by: Karen Karbiener
  • Length: 8 hrs and 15 mins
  • Lecture
  • Release date: 09-24-09
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.3 (42 ratings)

Regular price: $49.95

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Publisher's Summary

In this course we'll explore how Walt Whitman broke with the tyranny of European literary forms to establish a broad, new voice for American poetry. By throwing aside the stolid conventions and clichéd meters of old Europe, Walt Whitman produced a vital, compelling form of verse, one expressive of the nature of his new world and its undiscovered countries, both physical and spiritual, intimate and gloriously public. Passionate democracy is what Whitman called his invention, and like the inventions of Edison, it would transform not only the practices of its field but also the larger dimensions of American life. Whitman named what it was to be American, he catalogued and indexed and sang and scribed it, and his influence on his contemporaries and his descendants transcends the boundaries of poetry and becomes, in many ways, the story of young America.
©2004 Karen Karbiener (P)2004 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 01-25-14

An excellent class

This is a series of class lecture by Professor Karen Karblener for the Modern Scholar. This series is on Walt Whitman 1819 to 1892. According to Karblener Whitman was beginning of American poetry and is often called the “father of free verse”. The teacher goes through Whitman’s life and his poetry. She brings up controversy regarding his sexual orientation, his politics as a liberal democrat, being banned in Boston, and his opposition to slavery. She says Whitman was educated only to elementary school but was a printer and a reader. She states he was not considered successful in his lifetime but his poetry became sought after in the 20th century. She reads from some of his poems and discusses them such as “Leaves of Grass”. Overall it is a good introduction to Whitman. I remember little of what we discussed about Whitman in high school so this audio book allowed me to have a good understanding of Whitman and his place in American poetry.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Carole T. on 09-25-12

Ahead of His Time; And Maybe Even Ours

I am very grateful to my bookclub for reintroducing me to Walt Whitman. Sure, he's a dead white man, but this classic writer defied all the rules of his time, and he still seems as fresh and radical - sometimes even shocking - as he must have in 19th century America.

Professor Karbiener has obviously great knowledge of and enthusiasm for her poet. It's clear from the beginning that the study of Walt Whitman's life, work and influence could fill several semesters. In this 8 hour treatment, she gives us history, an overview of the work, and a clear feeling for the many ways Whitman has left his mark on American art and culture since his death in 1892.

Every American can be inspired by this life and poetry. Whitman still stands for the very best that we can be - brave, accepting of the new and the strange and different, and full of energy and enthusiasm for the future!

This course is way better than a week at a spa.

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8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Anabela Valerio on 04-16-17


Loved it! Easy to understand and a pleasure to listen to. Comprehensive and very interesting.

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