Walt Whitman and the American Reader

Overview

In Walt Whitman and the American Reader, Greenspan casts Whitman as the central actor on the stage of nineteenth-century American literary culture—a culture redefining its democratic identity. Against the context of the major changes revolutionizing the professions of printer, publisher, bookseller, and author, he examines the connection between the bookmaking culture of mid-century and Leaves of Grass, and between the conditions for authorship and Whitman's career. The result is a far-ranging study of Whitman as...

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Overview

In Walt Whitman and the American Reader, Greenspan casts Whitman as the central actor on the stage of nineteenth-century American literary culture—a culture redefining its democratic identity. Against the context of the major changes revolutionizing the professions of printer, publisher, bookseller, and author, he examines the connection between the bookmaking culture of mid-century and Leaves of Grass, and between the conditions for authorship and Whitman's career. The result is a far-ranging study of Whitman as a model of the nineteenth-century American writer writing for—and sometimes reacting against—the newly enfranchised, expanded reading public of his time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Greenspan retraces Whitman's early life along tightly professional lines, stressing his activities as printer, journalist, editor, and popular author. He then provides illuminating commentary on the first three editions of Leaves of Grass in terms of Whitman's shifting attitudes toward the popular readership...a good number of the links he draws between Whitman and his culture are quite original and perceptive." ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance

"Ezra Greenspan has brought together an abundance of information that he puts to good use in constructing a context for the emergence of Whitman from journeyman printer to journalist to poet....This is a fresh and comprehensive study." Paul Kane, Journal of American History

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. Whitman and the Conditions for Authorship in Nineteenth-century America; Part II. Whitman, Leaves of Grass and the Reader; Notes; Index.

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