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Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 | Author:

My reaction to our reading this week has been so mixed– in some ways, I feel a sense of closure, of finality as we focus on the last edition and the last days.  That reflects, I think, the personal, human Whitman we have gotten attached to this semester, since obviously as a literature professor I must have an unshakeable faith in the power of the work to outlive its maker and its time . . . right?  his work doesn’t reach closure because his body does.  But it doesn’t feel like it today.  Instead, my sense that with Whitman’s “death” (felt like checking the obits this a.m.) comes an unbreachable divide makes me frantic… don’t die now, Walt Whitman!  I have a lot left to read, to learn, to blog!  It’s too soon for me!  Maybe I am responding to the waning days of Digital Whitman more than the loss of Walt Whitman, but it’s crazy how those have become hard to separate lately.

Well, I include here something I found in our old friend Reynolds, a bit of letter WW sent with an advance copy of the deathbed edition on December 6, 1891 (intertextual note: 11 days before he took the “severe chill” that Longaker says marks “the invasion of the fatal sickness”):

L. of G. at last complete—after 33 y’rs of hackling at it, all times & moods of my life, fair weather & foul, all parts of the land, and peace & war, young & old—

O Whitman, Our Whitman (image from ExplorePAHistory.com)
O Whitman, Our Whitman (image from ExplorePAHistory.com)
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Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | Author:

Whitmaniacs, go HERE NOW for a Library of Congress link for schoolteachers that has digitized images of some of Whitman’s notebooks, including from the Civil War (and a wrenching photo of a dead confederate solider in Spotsylvania).  Don’t just look, READ: their names, their mother’s names, their ages, where they worked, where they’re from, which had been at Pfaff’s, their wounds and injuries (including overdosing), what they need from him (a clergyman, something to read), their qualities (somewhat “feminine”; “tall, well-tann’d,” an “oily, labial” way of speaking; “noble, beloved”);  their battle stories.

Sunday, September 20th, 2009 | Author:

Dr. Earnhart and I were bemoaning the fact that the online 1867 edition doesn’t include cover shots (something like glamour shots, but a little more satisfying).  I wanted to provide this link to another element of the vast Whitman Archive that supplements a little , though 1867 has many fewer images than other editions.  But if you look just above 1867 in the history, you’ll also see Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps as they were first published before getting stuck into Leaves in a most ragtag fashion.  For those who really love history of the book/material artifacts/publishing history, the whole thing is definitely worth reading, or at least scrolling through, for its stellar images.

Darn, I wish I could figure out how to stick-ify this post.

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