Who has the best comparative literary analysis of Whitman Leaves Grass and King James Psalms?
May 23, 2009 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Is there a comparative literature study of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass v. the Psalms in the King James translation of the Bible?

I and google cannot find a good reference. My hazy memory recalls seeing this in several places but I can't recall where exactly. I fear I may have been eager to accept as fact from a popular authority who did not really know what they were talking about. I am an amateur literary critic, but I would appreciate a source with bona fides, like Northrup Frye or Kathleen Raine or Harold Bloom. If the answer to my question is that Joseph Campbell and his fellow traveling exaggerators made this factoid up out of thin air, that would also of course be a good answer to my question.

Thank You!
posted by bukvich to Media & Arts (1 answer total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's not specific to the KJV as far as I can tell, but you might want to look at:

Beth LaNeel Tanner, The Book of Psalms Through the Lens of Intertextuality.Studies in Biblical Literature 26. New York: Peter Lang, 2001

According to this review:

Tanner’s study of Psalm 90 is the strongest chapter in her book. Starting with a poem by Walt Whitman, she demonstrates dual understanding of a poem with and also without an historical referent. She then demonstrates how the connection with Moses adds peculiar depth in meaning to Psalm 90. Her use of traditional scholarship in light of her own thesis from modern literary theory is handled deftly. She rejects von Rad’s conclusion with these words: “On the contrary, if this psalm is read with the superscription, then the ‘divine act of salvation’ is not missing at all but is grounded in this unique discourse between God and Moses in Exodus 32” (p. 97). Tanner suggests that, “one strong possibility is that their intent with this superscription was to imagine how Moses might speak again at a crucial point in Israel’s theological and historical life” (p. 98)
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:21 AM on May 23, 2009

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