Saturday, July 4, 2009


Considered by some to be the greatest American poet of the nineteenth century, Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, Long Island. His temperance novel Franklin Evans; or The Inebriate was published in the magazine The New World (1842), and he also published a number of sentimental poems.

In 1848, Whitman became editor of an antislavery newspaper, The Freeman, and between 1850 and 1854, he supported himself by working for several newspapers, contributing to various periodicals, and in partnership with his father, building and selling houses.

In 1855, Whitman published the first collection of his new poetry in free verse, Leaves of Grass. It was an extraordinary publication, and is considered one of the most interesting first editions in American literature. His thoughts were influenced by that of the Quakers and of the French and American romanticists, particularly Ralph Waldo Emerson. “I was simmering, simmering,” wrote Whitman. “Emerson brought me to a boil.”

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