LEWIS CARROLL E WALT WHITMAN
FOCUS ON THE TEXT: “ALICE IN WONDERLAND”
The plot. Alice in wonderland has no real plot. Alice, the protagonist, falls in a sleep and she dreams to fall down in a rabbit hole while she was pursuing a white rabbit in the garden. She emerges in a surreal and illogical world whose nature constantly change. Alice too begins to change, her body growing or shrinking depending what on what she eats. Alice meets a series of fantastical talking characters as: white rabbit, the mad hatter, the duchess, a mouse, a caterpillar… each of this characters seems to go against the logic of everything and Alice too seems to have forgotten everything she learned at school. The book ends when Alice was executed for some incompressible offence by the queen and as a witness she declares: “you are nothing but a pack of cards”. At this point she wakes up beside her elder sister to whom she recounts her dream.
Alice and children’s literature in the Victorian age
The Victoria period saw an explosion in children literature, which coincided with an assignation of a special status to childhood in middleclass society. In reality this had the purpose to prepare them for insertion in their assigned social role as adults. Their literature frequently took the form of an adventure or pilgrimage and through a series of transgression, punishment and rewards the child learned to discipline itself and grew up to accept its designated social identity. Carroll’s work cannot be inserted into this paradigm. An important aspect of the book is the way as it parodies 19th century moral convention regarding children’s literature. Alice in this fantastic world cannot remember any of her school lessons and often she tries to remember poems and rhymes she has learned but gets them all wrong but more amusing then the originals. The benign vision promoted by children’s literature is replaced by a more realistic portrait. The duchess who believes there is a moral in everything can be seen as a caricature of Victorian tendencies and there are other link to the Victorian society.
WALT WHITMAN: BIOGRAFIA E OPERE
Walt Whitman. Life and Works. Whitman was born in 1819 on long island, New York. With little formal education started work as an office boy and to became after an editor for magazines. After entering politics as a democratic, when he returned to New York he produced the first edition of “leaves of grass” a collection which grew with Whitman’s life, and that was published in 9 edition. His works were often influenced by his traveling experiences and by transcendentalist philosophy of Emerson. During the civil war he worked in hospital as a visitors and this experience led to the publication of a lot of works (drum taps including his famous elegy of Abraham Lincoln; memoranda during the work). However Whitman’s poetry was largely ignored for his rough manners and sexual outspokenness (schiettezza). In the 20th century his all-inclusiveness and his open-endedness influenced a lot of subsequent writers.
WALT WHITMAN: LEAVES OF GRASS
FOCUS ON THE TEXT: song of myself. Song of myself is a poem included on leaves of grass. The idea of leaves of grass as a working progress is connected to Whitman’s vision of himself as the chronicler of the American experience. His titanic ambition is to represent all the faces of America speaking through Whitman himself, he believes to represent the quintessential American epic poet. Whitman’s vision of America was connected to the idea of a society of brothers living in convivial sympathy, a vision shared by many writers. Implicit in his poetry is the idea of travel seen as a spiritual vagabond.