A Companion to Walt Whitman / Edition 1

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Comprising more than 30 substantial essays written by leading scholars, this companion constitutes an exceptionally broad-ranging and in-depth guide to one of America’s greatest poets.

  • Makes the best and most up-to-date thinking on Whitman available to students
  • Designed to make readers more aware of the social and cultural contexts of Whitman’s work, and of the experimental nature of his writing
  • Includes contributions devoted to specific poetry and prose works, a compact biography of the poet, and a bibliography
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book will be indispensable to Whitman lovers and students of American literary and cultural history.” Choice

"A Companion to Walt Whitman is an erudite exploration of not only the works themselves and their reflection of Whitman’s era, but also the valuable insights they convey to present and future generations. Highly recommended."
Midwest Book Review

"A significant achievement, constituting a companion not only to the poet, but to the entire field of Whitman studies."
Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Donald D. Kummings is a Professor of English at the Parkside Campus of the University of Wisconsin. His books on Whitman include Walt Whitman, 1940-1975: A Reference Guide (1982), Approaches to Teaching Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ (1990) and with J.R. LeMaster Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (1998). In 1990, his collection of poems, The Open Road Trip was awarded the Posner Poetry Prize by the Council for Wisconsin Writers. In 1997, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named him Wisconsin Professor of the Year.

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Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors ix

List of Illustrations xiv

Abbreviations of Standard Whitman Works xvi

Introduction 1
Donald D. Kummings

Part I: The Life 9

1 Whitman's Life and Work, 1819–92 11
Gregory Eiselein

Part II: The Cultural Context 27

2 Journalism 29
Douglas A. Noverr

3 The City 42
William Pannapacker

4 Labor and Laborers 60
M. Wynn Thomas

5 Politics 76
Gary Wihl

6 Oratory 87
J. R. LeMaster

7 Slavery and Race 101
Martin Klammer

8 Nation and Identity 122
Eldrid Herrington

9 A Theory of Organic Democracy 136
Stephen John Mack

10 Imperialism 151
Walter Grunzweig

11 Sexuality 164
Maire Mullins

12 Gender 180
Sherry Ceniza

13 Religion and the Poet-Prophet 197
David Kuebrich

14 Science and Pseudoscience 216
Harold Aspiz

15 Nineteenth-century Popular Culture 233
Brett Barney

16 Opera and Other Kinds of Music 257
Kathy Rugoff

17 Nineteenth-century Visual Culture 272
Ed Folsom

18 Civil War 290
Luke Mancuso

19 Nature 311
M. Jimmie Killingsworth

20 Death and the Afterlife 325
William J. Scheick

21 Twentieth-century Mass Media Appearances 341
Andrew Jewell and Kenneth M. Price

Part III: The Literary Context 359

22 Language 361
Tyler Hoffman

23 Style 377
James Perrin Warren

24 Literary Contemporaries 392
Joann P. Krieg

25 The Publishing History of Leaves of Grass 409
Amanda Gailey

26 The Poet's Reception and Legacy 439
Andrew C. Higgins

Part IV: Texts 455

Works of Poetry 456

27 The First (1855) Edition of Leaves of Grass 457
Edward Whitley

28 "Song of Myself" 471
Kerry C. Larson

29 "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" 484
James Dougherty

30 "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" 496
Howard Nelson

31 "Live Oak, with Moss," "Calamus," and "Children of Adam" 508
Steven Olsen-Smith

32 Civil War Poems in "Drum-Taps" and "Memories of President Lincoln" 522
Ted Genoways

Prose Works 539

33 Democratic Vistas 540
Robert Leigh Davis

34 Specimen Days 553
Martin G. Murray

35 The Prose Writings: Selected Secondary Sources 566
Donald D. Kummings

Index 588

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