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Walt Whitman's America : a cultural biography

Author: David S Reynolds
Publisher: New York : Knopf, 1995.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : English : 1st edView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Exploring the full range of writings by and about Whitman - not just his most famous work but also his earliest poems and stories, his conversations, letters, journals, newspaper writings, and daybooks - Reynolds gives us a full, rounded picture of the man, of his creative blending of disparate ideas and images, and his contradictory stances on race, class, and gender. Whitman's uniqueness is shown to spring
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Genre/Form: Biography
Biographies
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Reynolds, David S., 1948-
Walt Whitman's America.
New York : Knopf, 1995
(OCoLC)622890373
Named Person: Walt Whitman; Walt Whitman; Walt Whitman; Walt Whitman; Walt Whitman; Walt Whitman
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: David S Reynolds
ISBN: 0394580230 9780394580234
OCLC Number: 30547827
Awards: Bancroft Prize, 1996.
Description: xii, 671 pages ; 25 cm
Contents: "Underneath all, nativity": literary genealogy, literary geography --
A Brooklyn boyhood: sights, surroundings, influences --
Dark passages: teaching and early authorship --
Mannahatta: the literary marketplace and urban reality --
"The United States need poets": the political and social crisis --
American performances: theater, oratory, music --
"Sex is the root of it all": eroticism and gender --
Earth, body, soul: science and religion --
Toward a popular aesthetic: the visual arts --
"I contain multitudes": the first edition of Leaves of Grass. "The murderous delays": in search of an audience --
Brotherly love, national war: into the 1860s --
"My book and the war are one": the Washington years --
Reconstructing a nation, reconstructing a poet: postbellum institutions --
The burden of atlas: the new America --
The pope of Mickle Street: the final years.
Responsibility: David S. Reynolds.
More information:

Abstract:

Exploring the full range of writings by and about Whitman - not just his most famous work but also his earliest poems and stories, his conversations, letters, journals, newspaper writings, and daybooks - Reynolds gives us a full, rounded picture of the man, of his creative blending of disparate ideas and images, and his contradictory stances on race, class, and gender. Whitman's uniqueness is shown to spring primarily from his closeness to and absorption of his contemporary culture. We see how the social convulsions of Jacksonian America were mirrored in the tribulations of the poet's family, and how Whitman's private anguish, which can be felt in his early poems, was swept up in his growing alarm for a nation riven by sectional controversies, political corruption, and class division.

Into the vacuum created by the social and political crises rushed Whitman's gargantuan poetic "I," gathering images from every facet of American life in a hopeful gesture of unity: the cocky defiance of the Bowery b'hoys, the rhythms and inflections of actors and orators, the bloodcurdling sensationalism of penny papers, the incandescent images of luminist painters, the zany visions of popular mystics. We see Whitman in a society rampant with illicit sexual activity, which it refused to acknowledge. We see him aligning his passion for young men with the psychological and behavioral customs of a century in which same-sex love was actually common.

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Linked Data


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