Heidi Kim

Web site of Professor Heidi Kim, Dept. of English and Comparative Literature

Tag: Whitman

Whitman’s Identity at War: The Wound-Dresser

My article on the reception and performance history of John Adams’ song setting of “The Wound-Dresser” (a great piece for baritone and small orchestra) is out from my friends at the WWQR. Thanks to editor Ed Folsom for his enduring support of Whitman and young Whitman scholars!

This was a particularly fun article for me to write (and a horrific bibliographical experience). It was a first venture into writing about one of my big hobbies, classical music, and I got to use an almost overwhelming variety of sources, including interviews I conducted with two tremendous opera singers, Nathan Gunn and Eric Owens.  I also drew on baritone Thomas Hampson‘s considerable public speaking about this piece, thanks to the New York Philharmonic media staffer Katie Klenn, who really went the extra mile in shipping me DVDs of his talks.

The only thing I didn’t try to do was interview Adams, and now, as I look at the piece, I can’t think for the life of me why not. I did use his blog.

Link here (subscription/pay required).

Citation: Kim, Heidi Kathleen. “Whitman’s Identity at War: Contexts and Reception of John Adams’ The Wound-Dresser.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 30 (2013), 78-92.

ALA Whitman panel

I was happy to chair the Walt Whitman society panel at the American Literature Association in 2012, which featured three different but fascinating papers on Whitman’s careful print layout and typography choices, his reading of Dante and how that influenced his depiction of war as hell, and his influence on two modern ethnic writers and the discourse of gays in the military.

Walt Whitman and Anglo-Saxonism

My article “From Language to Empire: Walt Whitman in the Context of Popular Nineteenth-Century Anglo-Saxonism” was published in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review in the Summer 2006 issue (24(1):1-19).

This article contextualizes Walt Whitman’s invocations of Anglo-Saxon culture and its uneasy connections to white supremacist writing by comparing his words to those of many popular magazines and newspapers dealing with the subject, from editorials in the most prominent newspapers to specialist magazine The Anglo-Saxon.  The slippery slope from the cherishing of Anglo-Saxon words and literature to the racialist or imperialist ambitions of England and the United States can be traced in both Whitman and the other work, but Whitman’s emphasis on diversity and the freedom of the individual takes his Anglo-Saxonism in a new and unexpected direction.

Link to article here.

© 2017 Heidi Kim

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