Whitman, Slavery, and the Emergence of Leaves of Grass

By Martin Klammer | Go to book overview

1
THE CONSTRUCTION OF A PRO-SLAVERY APOLOGY

Most discussions of Whitman's attitudes toward African Americans begin with his journalism of the late 1840s in which he opposed the extension of slavery into the new western territories. But such approaches overlook a much earlier text and what is by far Whitman's longest writing involving an African American: the eight curious chapters of the 1842 temperance novel Franklin Evans, or The Inebriate (hereafter Franklin Evans), written when Whitman was twenty-three. Briefly summarized, in this part of the novel the narrator, Franklin Evans, a young, alcoholic Northerner, travels south from New York to a Virginia plantation. Almost immediately upon arrival he is sexually attracted to a female Creole slave. Franklin lets his desire be known to the slave owner, and, in a fit of drunkenness (and with the slave owner's help), he marries the woman and simultaneously has her manumitted. Upon sobering up he discovers to his disgust what has happened, but he is "saved" from his own actions by the sudden appearance of a sexually aggressive Northern white woman who, after arriving on the plantation, targets him as her next romantic conquest. The Creole wife then becomes violently jealous and in a mad frenzy murders the woman and commits suicide, leaving young Franklin to ponder--and reject--any sense of responsibility.

Whitman was not especially proud of Franklin Evans, telling Horace Traubel that it was "damned rot-rot of the worst sort" and claiming

-7-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Whitman, Slavery, and the Emergence of Leaves of Grass
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Construction of a Pro-Slavery Apology 7
  • 2 - The Failure of Borrowed Rhetoric 27
  • 3 - Emerson, New Orleans, and an Emerging Voice 45
  • 4 - The 1850 Compromise and an Early Poetics of Slavery 61
  • 5 - An Audience at Last 85
  • 6 - A Slave's Narrative 115
  • 7 - Speaking a New Word 141
  • Epilogue - "On the Extremest Verge" 159
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 171
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 182

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.