Walt Whitman - Life Stories, Books, and Links
Biographical Information

Stories about Walt Whitman

Selected works by this author

Selected books about / related to this author

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Picture of Walt Whitman, poet, journalist, and essayist; nineteenth century American Literature and poetry
Portrait: Walt Whitman, by Thomas Eakins (1887)
Walt Whitman   (1819 - 1892)
Category:  American Literature
Born:  May 31, 1819
West Hills Township, Huntington, New York, United States
Died:  March 26, 1892
Camden, New Jersey, United States
Related authors:
Anne Gilchrist, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson
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Walt Whitman - LIFE STORIES
3/26/1892     Weighing Whitman
On this day in 1892 Walt Whitman died. The high and controversial emotions which surrounded Whitman in life attended his death: in the same issue that carried his obituary, the New York Times declared that he could not be called "a great poet unless we deny poetry to be an art," while one funeral speech declared that "He walked among men, among writers, among verbal varnishers and veneerers, among literary milliners and tailors, with the unconscious majesty of an antique god."
5/15/1855     Whitman's First Leaves of Grass
On this day in 1855 Walt Whitman registered the title Leaves of Grass with the clerk of the United States District Court, New York; the first edition was published seven weeks later. Over the next thirty-six years Whitman would add many more poems and publish seven more editions, all in an effort to "Unscrew the locks from the doors! / Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!"
11/3/1871     Walt Whitman on Marriage
On this day in 1871 Walt Whitman declined an offer of marriage from Mrs. Anne Gilchrist, a literary critic who had heard "the voice of my mate" in Leaves of Grass. Whitman's usual response to such offers was philosophical-"It's better than getting medals from a king or pensions from Congress"-but the middle-aged Mrs. Gilchrist still felt "young enough to bear thee children, my darling," and had threatened to move to America.
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Leaves of Grass
The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman
by Walt Whitman, Anne Gilchrist
The Portable Walt Whitman
by Walt Whitman, Mark Van Doren (Editor)
anthology, poetry, essays
Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose
anthology, poetry
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Studies in Classic American Literature
by D. H. Lawrence
The Better Angel: Walt Whitman in the Civil War
by Roy, Jr. Morris
The Cambridge Companion to Walt Whitman
by Ezra Greenspan (Editor)
Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography
by David S. Reynolds
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The Walt Whitman Archive
Collection of resources including a biography, electronic texts (including digitized images of original documents), images, bibliography of literary criticism and analysis, and a brief audio recording of what is believed to be Whitman reading four lines from the poem "America."
Academy of American Poets
Whitman biography, poetry, bibliography, and links. Selected poems include "A Backward Glance," "A child said, What is the grass?," "A Clear Midnight," "Come Up From the Fields Father," "I Hear America Singing," "I Sing the Body Electric," "Mannahatta," "A noiseless patient spider," and "O Captain! My Captain!"

"In 1855, Whitman took out a copyright on the first edition of Leaves of Grass, which consisted of twelve untitled poems and a preface. He published the volume himself, and sent a copy to Emerson in July of 1855. Whitman released a second edition of the book in 1856, containing thirty-three poems, a letter from Emerson praising the first edition, and a long open letter by Whitman in response. During his subsequent career, Whitman continued to refine the volume, publishing several more editions of the book."
Modern American Poetry
Find a detailed biography, an article about the American Civil War, photographs and engravings, and literary criticism and analysis of "One's Self I Sing," "I Hear America Singing," "As Adam Early in the Morning," "I Hear it was Charged Against Me," and other poems.

"Whitman has enjoyed great international renown. Perhaps William Faulkner can match Whitman's impact on South America, but no U.S. writer, including Faulkner, has had a comparable influence in as many parts of the world. Whitman's importance stems not only from his literary qualities but also from his standing as a prophet of liberty and revolution: he has served as a major icon for socialists and communists. On the other hand, he has also been invoked on occasion by writers and politicians on the far right, including the National Socialists in Germany. In general, Whitman's influence internationally has been most felt in liberal circles as a writer who articulated the beauty, power, and always incompletely fulfilled promise of democracy."
Poet at Work - Recovered Notebooks from the Thomas Biggs Harned Collection
Provides online access and scanned images of four Whitman notebooks which disappeared from the Library of Congress archives in 1942 and were returned on February 24, 1995.
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February 19, 2018
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