Cosmopolitanism and the Literary Imagination

Research output: Book/ReportBook


In this poem, simply titled “A Noiseless, Patient Spider,” Whitman’s speaker makes an analogy between his soul and a spider starting the difficult process of building its web.2 The spider stands “isolated” on a “promontory,” a lonely individual seeking to make connections. Whitman’s diction suggests that we might even think of the spider as a figure for the nineteenth-century American pioneer, who sets out to explore what Whitman and his contemporaries conceived of as the “vast” and “vacant” continent of North America. In the second stanza, the speaker adds language that evokes nineteenth-century immigration to America as the speaker imagines his soul surrounded by “measureless oceans of space.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages187
ISBN (Electronic)9781137107770
ISBN (Print)9780312233877
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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