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Mark Ford: Whitman

17 March 2011
Democratic Vistas 
by Walt Whitman, edited​ by Ed Folsom.
Iowa, 143 pp., $24.95, April 2010, 978 1 58729 870 7
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... I had him sit next me at table … my firelock leaned in the corner. Whitman’s racial politics have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. They were the subject of a superb essay by EdFolsom called ‘Lucifer and Ethiopia’ that was published in the collection A Historical Guide to Walt Whitman (edited by David Reynolds), and they also feature in Folsom’s excellent introduction to ...


Jacqueline Rose: ‘Specimen Days’

22 September 2005
Specimen Days 
by Michael Cunningham.
Fourth Estate, 308 pp., £14.99, August 2005, 0 00 715605 7
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... alarmed, by his own aesthetic principles – that you can walk without let or hindrance into the thoughts of another. It is easy to appropriate Whitman. In the past few years, as the Whitman scholar EdFolsom has related, he has made some unlikely public appearances: a gift from Clinton to Monica Lewinsky (which led some commentators to read him as an oral sex manual); the harbinger, after 9/11, of ...

In Praise of Mess

Richard Poirier: Walt Whitman

4 June 1998
With Walt Whitman in Camden. Vol. VIII: 11 February 1891-30 September 1891 
by Horace Traubel, edited​ by Jeanne Chapman and Robert MacIsaac.
Bentley, 624 pp., $99.50, November 1996, 0 9653415 8 5
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With Walt Whitman in Camden. Vol. IX: 11 February 1891-30 September 1891 
by Horace Traubel, edited​ by Jeanne Chapman and Robert MacIsaac.
Bentley, 624 pp., £99.50, November 1996, 0 9653415 9 3
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... since. In 1894 he founded the nationwide Whitman Fellowship and guided it for the next 25 years. And this was scarcely all he did. As we learn from the concise account of Traubel’s life by EdFolsom, which serves as the Foreword to Volume IX, by the time Traubel began his daily visits to the sickroom in 1888, he had already held a number of jobs, as a typesetter, paymaster in a factory, employee ...
27 September 2018
How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed​ Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... ’ In 1973, a gay bar in New Orleans was deliberately set on fire: 32 people died. No charges were ever filed. A few years later, a friend of White’s was shot and killed outside a gay bar on Folsom Street in San Francisco. The gun was fired from a passing car, never traced. ‘He was so big and proud and conspicuous that no doubt he made a fine target for free-floating homophobia.’ Aids ...

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