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The Art and Literature of Democracy: Walt Whitman and Robert Henri
Walt Whitman (1819–1892) was a highly influential poet and essayist whose works influenced many poets, writers and even painters. The most important feature that distinguished him from his contemporaries was that he wrote for and about marginalized people. He has contributed to literature by addressing people of different ethnic backgrounds, classes and cultures. He favored simplicity in language and expression, since he aimed to make his works readable by everyone. His work Leaves of Grass, which describes his understanding of democracy, was subjected to intense criticism when it was published. However, his visionary literary understanding inspired some artists and allowed them to follow him. One of his most important followers was Robert Henri, and he focused on ordinary people in his works like Whitman.The understanding developed by Whitman and Henri became a cornerstone in the democratization of art and literature against the widespread understanding of art centered on the rich, aristocrats and elites. By examining their main works and philosophies, the present article aims to demonstrate how Whitman and Henri contributed to the democratization of art and literature.

Walt Whitman, Robert Henri, Art and Literature, Democracy

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