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

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Tue Dec 30 05:58:34 UTC 2008

> From: ronbutters at AOL.COM
> Date: December 29, 2008 12:17:10 PM PST
> Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: "winders of the circuit of circuits"
> Has nobody looked to see what Whitman scholarship says? This is a
> literary question, not a linguistic one.

I think I mentioned in my original query that as best I and my
correspondent can tell the Whitman scholarship is uninformative on
this one -- at least, lots of people quote the line but nobody seems
to explicate it. It's clearly a linguistic question what the literal
meaning of the phrase is in context -- for example, does 'wind' here
mean "traverse," "bend," or "wrap"?; what's the relevant sense of
'circuit'?; was this a familiar collocation?, etc. It's more of a
literary question what figurative or suggestive meaning Whitman was
after, though I don't know that one can cut this distinction so cleanly.

Anyway, I've forwarded the numerous useful comments and suggestions to
my friend, who was extremely grateful for the help.

Geoff Nunberg

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

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