From Noon to Starry Night: A Life of Walt Whitman

Overview

In From Noon to Starry Night, published on the 100th anniversary of Walt Whitman's death, the great poet of democracy has at last found his biographer. Philip Callow brings to Whitman's extraordinary life the skills and sensitivities of novelist, poet, and biographer. Here is the life of America's poet—beguiling, surprising, in some ways magical—a wonderfully detailed portrait, lyrically told. More successfully than any earlier biography, Callow's has captured Whitman's elusive truth. Drawing upon a broad range ...

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Overview

In From Noon to Starry Night, published on the 100th anniversary of Walt Whitman's death, the great poet of democracy has at last found his biographer. Philip Callow brings to Whitman's extraordinary life the skills and sensitivities of novelist, poet, and biographer. Here is the life of America's poet—beguiling, surprising, in some ways magical—a wonderfully detailed portrait, lyrically told. More successfully than any earlier biography, Callow's has captured Whitman's elusive truth. Drawing upon a broad range of sources, and quoting liberally from Whitman's poems, Callow has re-created the poet's life in all its roundness and intricate corners, "smiling evasively in his thicket of identities." Tradesman, teacher, buccaneer journalist, suddenly a poet; a man who loved crowds yet was fundamentally a solitary, with a sexual fluidity that remains a riddle to this day, Whitman was, Callow observes, a democrat who set out to imagine the life of the average man in average circumstances changed into something grand and heroic. "The sheer certainty of his voice can still astonish us,'' the author writes. He has brought Whitman alive again in this perceptive and evocative biography. With 8 pages of photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

John Wain
Callow is a writer who feels life, smells it, eats and drinks it, draws it up through the soles of his shoes.
V.S Naipaul
His prose is clear and easy and elegant, his observations sharp but kind and never superficial.
Los Angeles Times - Chris Goodrich
A readable, thoughtful homage...Callow is as much Whitman's champion here as biographer!
Chicago Tribune - Bill Mahin
An excellent biography...not only a splendid portrait of this major American poet but a riveting, detailed history as well.
Andrew Mahin
An excellent biography...not only a splendid portrait of this major American poet but a riveting, detailed history as well.
Chicago Tribune
Goodrich
A readable, thoughtful homage...Callow is as much Whitman's champion here as biographer.
Los Angeles Times
Publishers Weekly
Interesting and well written...admiring but objective.
Atlantic Monthly
Well written, intelligent...a fine biography.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In an interesting and well-written biography, Callow ( Vincent Van Gogh ) attempts to illuminate Walt Whitman's life (1819-1892) by focusing primarily on the poet's experiences before the Civil War. Drawing heavily on earlier works by Gay Wilson Allen and Justin Kaplan, Callow adds a historical sketch of early-19th-century America to show how the nation Whitman celebrated so eloquently in Leaves of Grass formed his complex personality. The poet loved crowds but was by nature solitary; highly cultured, he identified with the unlettered; and he concealed in his daily life the buoyant sexuality expressed in his work. Only in his poetry, the author contends, could Whitman resolve these contradictions. Laced throughout with ample quotations that reveal Whitman's poetic genius, this admiring but objective portrait will interest both scholars and general readers. ( Sept. )
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566631334
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 8/28/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 411
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip Callow's biographies of D. H. Lawrence, Son and Lover and Body of Truth, were widely praised. Mr. Callow, himself a novelist, poet, and biographer, has also written lives of Chekhov, Cézanne, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Van Gogh, all published to critical acclaim. Mr. Callow lives and writes in England.

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