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Walt Whitman's America : a cultural biography

Author: David S Reynolds
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1996. ©1995
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : English : First Vintage books editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
In his poetry, Walt Whitman set out to encompass all of America and in so doing heal its deepening divisions. This biography demonstrates the scale of his achievement, as well as the dreams and anxieties that impelled it, for it places the poet securely within the political and cultural context of his age. Combing through the full range of Whitman's writing, David Reynolds shows how Whitman gathered inspiration from  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biographies
Biography
Named Person: Walt Whitman; Walt Whitman
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: David S Reynolds
ISBN: 9780679767091 0679767096 9780394580234 0394580230
OCLC Number: 79155029
Description: xii, 671 pages : 16 unnumbered pages of plates ; 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.
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Abstract:

In his poetry, Walt Whitman set out to encompass all of America and in so doing heal its deepening divisions. This biography demonstrates the scale of his achievement, as well as the dreams and anxieties that impelled it, for it places the poet securely within the political and cultural context of his age. Combing through the full range of Whitman's writing, David Reynolds shows how Whitman gathered inspiration from every stratum of nineteenth-century American life: the convulsions of slavery and depression; the raffish dandyism of the Bowery "b'hoys"; the exuberant rhetoric of actors, orators, and divines. We see how Whitman reconciled his own sexuality with contemporary social mores and how his courtship of the public presaged the vogues of advertisement and celebrity.

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