At the moment, psychology is scientifically defined as the study of behavior and mental processes. Since psychology is still undergoing exponential growth and development, the field is everchanging. Therefore, some people like to describe psychology as the study of individual differences. We can find out multiple facets of ourselves just by briefly looking into the field. From specific human behaviors resulting from the body’s regulation of hormones to the evolutionarily disposed fundamental attribution error that humans experience to simultaneously keep themselves uplifted but close-minded, psychology can explain it all. With that said, I am curious as to how different factors in our life can influence the way that we view the environment, our experiences, and other people. In particular, I feel it necessary to look at a specific type of person whilst doing this research: The humanist. Humanistic people are able to keep an all-inclusive mind and stay open to differing opinions on multiple topics. In a world where so many people experience rigidity, it is crucial for a person to have many positive and diverse experiences while at home and outside in the world in order to function on a higher level. This can be attributed to Whitman, a precursor for environmentalism who writes about his own enlightening philosophies in his poem “Song of Myself.” By exploring his background and work in detail, one can find the key to his (as well as other humanists’) temperament and figure out the genetic and environmental dispositions it takes for a person to function like him.
Miller, Edwin H. Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: A Mosaic of Interpretations. U of Iowa P, 1989.
The content of this book is described as “a running commentary on the poem almost line for line” by the author. Whitman’s “Song of Myself” is discussed here in great detail and clarity; the author pulls in multiple different sources and compiles their comments on the work in order to help the reader make better sense of the original poetry as laid out by Whitman. I am using this source to help me better understand the views on the natural world that most scholars believed Whitman to hold.
Miller, Edwin H, editor. A Century of Whitman Criticism. U of Indiana P, 1969.
Like other sources on this list, this edited work includes multiples accounts of Whitman and “Leaves of Grass”, the container for “Song of Myself”, told by other people of different backgrounds. Ranging from commentators of all disciplines from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Henry David Thoreau, “Leaves of Grass” is not only discussed in relation to the time period that the vast commentary was created in, but also to how other people felt about Whitman’s views on the environment. This provides me with a rough basis of analysis that will help me to explain my own opinions on Whitman’s writing along with the original substance that existed in his work to begin with.
Myerson, Joel, editor. Whitman in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Memoirs, and Interviews by Friends and Associates. Omnigraphics, 1991.
Including a chronological timeline of important events as well as accounts of and interviews from Whitman, this book makes for a descriptive piece about his entire life. This will help me to effectively determine what Whitman’s past was like in reference to what was happening in American history. It also gives me the ability to read about the ways that people view him as well as the different relationships that Walt Whitman held towards specific individuals, such as Henry David Thoreau.
Perry, Bliss. Walt Whitman: His Life and Work. London: Archibald Constable, Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1906.
This piece delves into detail about specific portions of Whitman’s life, providing a lot of substance to digest and talk about in reference to the psychological aspect of Whitman that I would like to discuss. Within Chapter 1: A Child Went Forth, one can read about the household that Whitman was brought up in as well as the different personalities of his parents and how he recalls both of them. This book also provides an account of how the American Civil War affected him along with all of the different career changes he undertook throughout his life. I hope to learn more insight to the events that helped to shape his temperament and his views over the span of his life.