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Notes on Whitman's life

Notes on Whitman's life

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  • 1. Walt Whitman 1819-1892
    • Born in what was then rural Brooklyn, New York City.
    • The second of 9 children.
    • His father was a carpenter and farmer.
    • His mother was a Quaker.
  • 2.
    • Left school at 11 to help support family.
    • 1836 - teacher at a one room school house.
    • 1841- founded a weekly newspaper.
    • 1848 - traveled to New Orleans to become editor of newspaper.
    • In New Orleans witnessed the horrors of slavery.
  • 3. Whitman New York Around 1850
  • 4. Whitman New Orleans 1848
  • 5.
    • 1848 - returned to Brooklyn, wrote poetry, founded a newspaper.
    • 1855 - self-published a book of 12 untitled poems, Leaves of Grass .
    • No one would publish due to hints of homosexuality.
  • 6.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson loved his poetry but reviewers found it too explicit.
    • Emily Dickinson was advised not to read it because of its explicit sexual references.
    • 1861- the third edition was published.
  • 7. Whitman Boston or DC Around 1860
  • 8.
    • 1862 - Civil War - traveled to DC to help his wounded brother. Ended up staying and helping out with wounded soldiers.
    • While in D.C. he developed a great admiration for Abraham Lincoln
    • 1865 - Lincoln’s assassination. Whitman responded with “O Captain, My Captain” and “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed.”
  • 9. Over the years Whitman published more editions of Leaves of Grass, adding more and more poems. Whitman is America’s greatest transcendentalist poet. Surprises in Whitman’s poetry were the use of lists and the free discussion of the human body.
  • 10.
    • 1884 - Returns to the NY area, buys a home in Camden, New Jersey where he lives until he dies.
    • Leaves of Grass published 8 times.
  • 11.  
  • 12. Whitman said: The poetic quality is not marshaled in rhyme or uniformity, . . . but is in the soul.
  • 13. Whitman New York 1878
  • 14. Whitman With friends’ children 1879 New York
  • 15. Whitman Canada 1880
  • 16. Whitman Boston 1887