Sunday, August 21, 2005

Kaplan's Wittgenstein Meme II: Leaves of Grass

(The meme is explained here.)

I’ve been cruel to Walt Whitman, but I’m beginning to think that Leaves of Grass is pretty good. I bring back from tonight’s skim-through a selection of marginal notes from a class a couple of years ago. The notes are in italics; transcriptions of the professor’s in-class comments are labeled “Jean Carr.”


Jean Carr: attitude pose; not going to name himself; outdoors & ready to look at you

…he sees eternity in men and women…he does not see men and women as dreams and dots
you gotta rethink dreams and dots!!

Leaves of Grass

I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
alternate first lines: I celebrate by myself. I misspeak myself.

loveroot, silkthread, crotch and vine crotchvine?

A child said, What is the grass? […]
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.
Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord, or Pantagruel

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.
Jean Carr: kind of gothic, surreal [This is the sort of thing she’s say that wouldn’t necessarily be earth-shattering for anyone else, but would be so well matched to the deep thought-shapes of my brain that the words seemed not to issue from a source outside myself, nor even to be words at all. I’ve tried to write about this before.]

[The runaway slave] staid with me a week before he was recuperated and passed north,
I had him sit next to me at table….my firelock leaned in the corner.
Jean Carr: And the wallpaper was nice.

It provokes me forever,
It says sarcastically, Walt, you understand enough….why don’t you let it out then?
Hey Carl, you understand enough. You’ve got these forms in you so

Encompass worlds but never try to encompass me
the imperative of the Peace Zone!!!

To be in any form, what is that?
cool question!

Behaviour lawless as snow-flakes
snowflakes lawless?

I am the teacher of athletes
Mr. Whitman,
I got alot out of the lesson where you flew through the Kosmos THANKS

A riddle:
I teach straying from me, yet who can stray from me?
I follow you whoever you are from the present hour;
My words itch at your ears until you understand them.
Who am I?

I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four
Jean Carr: It’s like, 24-7!


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