CHARLES E. FEINBERG
THE pleasure of collecting manuscripts and letters of a literary man is always enhanced by the feeling of intimacy, of sharing the thoughts and ideas of a creative mind--of having a look into the beginning of things.
The printing of this unpublished Walt Whitman notebook, with its splendid introduction and collated notes by Harold Blodgett, is an important addition to Whitman bibliography.
Gradually the picture of a magnificent idler, 'loafing and inviting his soul,' is being replaced by the factual truth of a poet constantly working hard to bring to its final expression what he considered to be his finished poem--his 'spinal idea.'
From the following pages you catch a glimpse of Walt Whitman making notes of the people he met, the things he had to write about, and the germinal ideas of future poems and prose works.
The early jotting down of the selective phrase of Emerson's letter was sketched by Whitman for use on the spine of the second edition of Leaves of Grass, 1856.