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Download A Historical Guide to Walt Whitman (Historical Guides to by David S. Reynolds PDF

By David S. Reynolds

Few authors are so compatible to ancient learn as Whitman, who's extensively thought of America's maximum poet. This advisor combines modern cultural experiences and historic scholarship to light up Whitman's diversified contexts. The essays discover dimensions of Whitman's dynamic courting to working-class politics, race and slavery, sexual mores, the visible arts, and the assumption of democracy. The poet who emerges from this quantity is not any "solitary singer," distanced from his tradition, yet what he himself referred to as "the age transfigured," totally enmeshed in his instances and addressing matters which are nonetheless very important this day.

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24 These political poems of the early 1850s are important transitional texts that prefigure Leaves of Grass. Once a loyal Democrat who wrote in straightforward journalese, Whitman was now writing powerfully rebellious poetry that for the first time in print used a form that approximated free verse. " At this time, Whitman was living with his parents and siblings in Brooklyn in a house on Myrtle Street. From his print shop, he issued a short-lived guidebook, The Salesman's and Traveller's Di- A Brief Biography 25 rectory for Long Island, and he wrote Long Island sketches for William Cullen Bryant's Evening Post.

31. S. Hill], North American Review 104 (Jan. 1867): 302; New York Examiner, January 9,1882. 32. PW,II:59733. LGC, 67. The next quotation is on 163. 34. Brooklyn Star, November 5,1845. 35. , The Gathering of the Forces (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1920), 346-47; Whitman, Notes and Fragments, ed. , Ontario: A. ), 70. 36. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 13,1847. 37. Variovum, I:31. 38. John Townsend Trowbridge, Atlantic Monthly 89 (Feb. 1902): 166. 39. Clarence Gohdes and Rollo G. : Duke University Press, 1949), p.

1 But Whitman was a poet embedded in his times, and his times—not unlike our own—were a period of intense disagreement about the significance and importance of racial difference. His career demonstrates his struggle with his times—and with himself—over the issue of race in the United States, and, because of that, his work offers important insight into the ongoing struggle in America to create a unified society that nonetheless maintains and celebrates its diversity. One of the most instructive aspects of Whitman's poetry is its inscription of the distance and slippage between ideals and reality.

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