Walt Whitman's Workshop: A Collection of Unpublished Manuscripts

Walt Whitman's Workshop: A Collection of Unpublished Manuscripts

Walt Whitman's Workshop: A Collection of Unpublished Manuscripts

Walt Whitman's Workshop: A Collection of Unpublished Manuscripts

Excerpt

Recently there have come to light several unpublished manuscripts by Walt'Whitman which clarify the purpose, growth, and gradual unfoldment of Leaves of Grass, and possess at the same time sufficient literary distinction in their own right to warrant consideration as independent pieces of writing. This material includes a wide range of subject-matter. The various manuscripts of prefaces for American editions of Whitman's poems, which were lost during Whitman's lifetime before they reached print and were rediscovered only after his death, have a fascinating history, and possess marked significance for the student and collector, as well as the casual reader of Whitman. From these documents may be derived a new understanding of that " something a little more than human" 1 which Thoreau early recorded as his dominant impression of the rudely transcendental Whitman who celebrated himself in the first Leaves of 1855. In addition to these American, prefaces, a selection of other significant Whitman manuscripts, dropped or withheld for various reasons during his lifetime, here appears for the first time. Many of these are particularly pertinent to the study of the development of Whitman's poems, and the personality of which they were an outgrowth. This material has been collected from scattered sources and has shaped itself into a single volume, the princtary purpose of which, underlying all other currents and drifts, is to contribute a composite picture of Walt Whitman, the literary workman.
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