Fwd: Re: "winders of the circuit of circuits"

ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Mon Dec 29 20:17:10 UTC 2008

Has nobody looked to see what Whitman scholarship says? This is a literary question, not a linguistic one.
------Original Message------
From: Joel S. Berson
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: [ADS-L] Fwd: Re:  "winders of the circuit of circuits"
Sent: Dec 28, 2008 11:49 AM

 From someone on the eighteenth-century email list.  Note that he
thinks of itinerant preachers.

>From: James Rovira
>One possibility, if you focus on these lines:
><<Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the gods, saluting the sun...
>Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing
>    assuredly that he is divine,
>To the mass kneeling or the puritan's prayer rising, or sitting
>    patiently in a pew,
>Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till
>    my spirit arouses me,
>Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land,
>Belonging to the winders of the circuit of circuits.>>
>He initially seems to be describing a variety of religious
>practices/groups in America, which makes sense of earlier lines in
>which the poet's faith encloses all other faiths, ancient and
>modern.  The subsequent lines quoted below describe modern faiths
>while previous lines (referring to oracles) describe ancient ones:
>"mass kneeling" -- could refer to a "mass of people" or to Catholic services.
>"or the puritan's prayer rising"
>"or sitting patiently in a pew"
>"ranting and frothing...." could refer to Quakers and Shakers or
>similar groups.
>"or" in the previous lines probably refers simultaneously to
>different postures of worship within a modern prayer service --
>kneeling, praying, sitting, ranting, waiting dead-like (in today's
>Pentecostal circles this is called being "slain in the spirit," as
>you may recall seeing people collapse on stage during a televised
>evangelist's service) -- and to different religious groups
>themselves: Catholics, Puritans, and earlier forms of
>Charismatic/Pentecostal groups.
>The next line's "looking forth on pavement and land" is the action
>of "his spirit" after it has aroused him.  But pavement implies
>travel, so the word "circuit" in the next line could refer to the
>itinerary of traveling preachers -- his spirit is looking forth on
>pavement and land for the experience these preachers or similar
>figures bring.  Since the word "winders" is plural it probably
>doesn't refer to a divine clock winder of sorts, which as presented
>by mechanical philosophers would be singular -- the "winders" are
>probably the priests mentioned in the first of your quoted
>lines.  The priests "wind the circuit" (motivate the activity?) of
>"circuits" (traveling preachers' itineraries).
>A possibility, anyway.
>Jim R

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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