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Grant number like: FT-52705-04

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Jed E. Deppman
Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH 44074-1057)

Summer Stipends
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 8/31/2004

Redefining America: Whitman, Dickinson, and Their Dictionaries

Through a comparison of how Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson read and interpreted their dictionaries, this study addresses the question of how major creative artists negotiate with the authoritative words and concepts of their surrounding culture. Responding to a lengthy 19th-century controversy over the nature of lexicography itself, these two poets disputed and literally redefined many key American terms--democracy, nature, consciousness, self, hope, faith--at precisely the time when America was most agonizingly and self-consciously seeking to define its own political, religious, and artistic cultures.