Walt Whitman: The Contemporary Reviews

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The American Critical Archives is a series of reference books that provide representative selections of contemporary reviews of the main works of major American authors. Specifically, each volume contains both full reviews and excerpts from reviews that appeared in newspapers and weekly and monthly periodicals, generally within a few months of the publication of the work concerned. There is an introductory historical overview by the volume editor, as well as checklists of additional reviews located but not quoted. This volume, a significant contribution to the reception history of Leaves of Grass, Specimen Days, and other works, reproduces the full range of the contemporary reviews of Whitman's books. Brash and iconoclastic, revered and reviled at various times, Whitman - because of his bold literary experiments and frank treatment of sexuality - was accorded an astonishing array of commentary, ranging from sympathy with his "hearty wholesomeness" to hostility toward poems that were a "mass of stupid filth." Reviews by Rufus Griswold, Fanny Fern, John Burroughs, William Dean Howells, Henry James, Hamlin Garland, Oscar Wilde, and (writing anonymously) Whitman himself, as well as a host of lesser-known writers, clarify much about both the poet and nineteenth-century American culture and its tastes and preoccupations, its myopia and acuity. These reviewers, the first to frame the issues for critical debate about Whitman, shaped his long-term reputation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All libraries serving serious students of literature should have these volumes." Q. Grigg, Choice

"Kenneth M. Price's edition of the early reviews of Whitman's work is a carefully edited, beautifully produced, and fundamentally important collection. For the first time, we have available a full...gathering of the contemporary responses to Whitman's raging sequence of book publications...One of the values of a book such as Price's is that it inspires and initiates work that eventually updates and supplements what the editor has done. It is a testament to the quality of Price's work that so little supplementing needs to be done to a collection that covers such a vast range of responses to Whitman's multitudinous career. Price's volume allows us to begin to hear Whitman as last century's readers heard him." Ed Folsom, Resiurces for American Literary Study

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521453875
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Series: American Critical Archives Series , #9
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Series Editor's Preface
Editorial Note and Acknowledgments
Leaves of Grass (1855) 1
Leaves of Grass (1856) 57
"A Child's Reminiscence" (1859) 69
Leaves of Grass (1860-1) 77
Drum-Taps (1865) 109
Leaves of Grass (1867) 133
Poems by Walt Whitman (1868) 145
Leaves of Grass (1871), Passage to India (1871), Democratic Vistas (1871) 179
Two Rivulets (1876) 209
Leaves of Grass (1881-2) 221
Specimen Days & Collect (1882-3) 271
November Boughs (1888) 305
Complete Poems & Prose of Walt Whitman (1888) 331
Democratic Vistas, and Other Papers (1888) 339
Good-Bye My Fancy (1891) 345
Index 355
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