Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. English Dept.


Chris A. Walker

Second Advisor

Katherine Stubbs


Places the naturalist Alexander Von Humboldt's proto-ecological ideas in conversation with Walt Whitman's poetry to show how the poet developed an ecopoetics in conversation with the natural sciences of his time, with specific attention to Von Humboldt's theory of the "kosmos" - by which Whitman's poetic persona self-identified. These recognitions are combined with how Whitman's idealized version of the American poet as a “kosmos” creates a political ecology in Whitman’s work, placing his ecopoetics into environmental discourses that resonate from their origin in the nineteenth century to our present ecological moment today.


Von Humboldt, Whitman, Cosmos, Ecopoetics, Leaves of Grass