Collage of Myself: Walt Whitman and the Making of Leaves of Grass

By Matt Miller | Go to book overview
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2
Packing and Unpacking the
First Leaves of Grass

Between 1853 and 1855, as Whitman was creating his poetic selfhood in writing, piecing together an identity from notes and scraps of written and found language, Whitman moved no less than four times, taking with him not only his family, but also his notebooks, manuscript fragments, and the various texts that he drew upon in the making of the first Leaves of Grass. He began 1853 in a three-story house on Cumberland Street in Brooklyn, where he and his family had lived for eight months, having moved there in September 1852 from their residence at 106 Myrtle Avenue, where Whitman’s family had lived in the upper floors while he operated a small printing office and bookstore on the ground floor. The men in Whitman’s family were experienced carpenters and had built these two houses. They were set to benefit from the housing boom that had begun recently in south Brooklyn as a result of the successful draining of some formerly uninhabitable marshland. But with Whitman’s father, Walt Whitman Sr., quite ill and

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