Academic journal article Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

In Memoriam: Charley Shively, 1937-2017

Academic journal article Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

In Memoriam: Charley Shively, 1937-2017

Article excerpt

Charley Shively, known in Whitman Studies for his pioneering work on Whitman's relationships with young men, died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 6, 2017. Shively's two books on Whitman-Calamus Lovers: Walt Whitman's Working Class Camerados (1987) and Drum Beats: Walt Whitman's Civil War Boy Lovers (1989)-were both published by Gay Sunshine Press, and he always considered the books equal parts political action and academic discovery. Both books published, for the first time, large selections of the letters that young men had written to Whitman, and they were revelatory. Calamus Lovers examined Whitman's relationship to Fred Vaughan, Tom Sawyer, Lewis Brown, Alonzo Bush, Elijah Fox, Nicholas Palmer, Peter Doyle, Jack Rogers, Jo Baldwin, Harry Stafford, and Bill Duckett. Drum Beats carried on the work he began in the first book, printing over a hundred pages of letters written to Whitman by nearly fifty Civil War soldiers, and introducing these letters with a smart and provocative analysis of gay sex in the Civil War and in Civil War hospitals. The books were controversial and tremendously influential. They pointed to the gaping silence of the voices of males who loved Whitman, voices that had been muted for over a century of Whitman scholarship. It was Shively's demonstration of the vital importance of attending to those voices that was one reason the Walt Whitman Archive dedicated itself to publishing the entirety of the two-way correspondence of Whitman-printing not only Whitman's letters, but all the known letters written to him. …

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