Let’s Make a Date!

While typing up my Conversation Starter, I found this YouTube video, which asks, “How would Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson have fared if they met in real life?” Based on what we’ve read over this last month, both in their poems, and the second opinions of countless others, do you think this video provides an accurate description of such a date? If not, please explain what would’ve been different if Whitman met Dickinson.

8 Replies to “Let’s Make a Date!”

  1. I’m not sure that ED would immediately be so put off by Whitman. I think that maybe they would connect really well based on the fact that they both had a passion for poetry. I could see it turning into a friendship like C.S. Lewis and Tolkien. They may have some disagreements, but overall would enjoy each other’s company and muse.

  2. I think how Dickinson was very guarded and almost cold at the beginning of this video was based on the modern interpretation that we have about Dickinson based on the stereotype that she has been placed in. Yes, she was guarded, yes, she liked being alone, yes, she kept to herself. However, I don’t think she would be standoffish in the first encounter with a new person. Maybe she would be slightly awkward and shy like any person with slight to moderate social anxiety, or someone that gets nervous around new people, but I don’t think she was become almost attacking from the start.

  3. After reading what Emily told Higginson about Whitman, implying he was crude and base, I don’t think she would have even accepted a date with him. It’s unfortunate, though. I believe they have a lot in common and would have found encouragement in one another’s art. No… I could never picture Dickinson entering a bar nor could I ever imagine Whitman asking her to. Whitman was very insightful and perceptive. Had he asked Dickinson on a date, I believe he would have asked her to take a walk in her garden.

  4. Mitchell, I would have to completely agree with Rhonda, that after having reads the essays that we were assigned this week, that Higginson that he was unrefined and raw, I would have to agree that if they actually met in person, it would not have ended well, as there iss clear tension between the two authors and animostiy between the two authors, as was also portrayed in this particular video, where Walt Whitman asks where Emily wants to go and Emily says “anywhere where there is not a lot of people, I don’t like people”. I liked the fact that this clearly encapsulated the idea of Emily Dickinson as a well known recluse from society. This was an excellent find Mitchell, thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  5. I absolutely love that you found this! I am in agreemment that ED probably would have been put off by WW, so I think that was portrayed accurately. But, it would have been much more grace through both of them. In a perfect world, I would like to think that ED would have accepted a date with WW to give a chance to bond over their love for writing and poetry. Also, since they are both advocates for a better nation it would create a middle ground. I enjoy seeing old time classics become modern. It is always interesting to see the different interpretations people have.

  6. I can imagine Whitman visiting Dickinson at her home but I can’t imagine them interacting in a town setting. I think Whitman would probably be respectable but would start to show his peculiar character slowly. Dickinson would probably easily pick up on Whitman’s strange and different demeanor just as Whitman would pick up on Dickinson’s reclusive nature. I don’t see their “friendship” (because they definitely wouldn’t have a relationship) lasting very long. Maybe not even through one meeting.

  7. Honestly I have to agree with Longhi on this. They are rivals, so they would have an appreciation around each other.

  8. I agree with Jlonghi as well. I don’t think ED would have been so hostile towards WW. I also don’t feel like she would have been so quick to object to going to a place with other people. I realize that she was a bit more introverted, but I feel like they could have gone to like a cafe and had a nice chat.

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