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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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... ninety years after the appearance in 1906 of the first volume, all two and a half million words of Horace Traubel’s Walt Whitman in Camden are now in print. Altogether the volumes cover the last four years of Whitman’s life, from 1888 to 1892, and consist of nearly day by day renditions of Whitman’s conversations, correspondence, and such activities ...

Manly Love

John Bayley, 28 January 1993

Walt Whitman: From Moon to Starry Night 
by Philip Callow.
Allison and Busby, 394 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 85031 908 0
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The Double Life of Stephen Crane 
by Christopher Benfey.
Deutsch, 294 pp., £17.99, February 1993, 0 233 98820 3
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... passion for the dead and their graves, for night as the mother, and for oblivion. When his friend Horace Traubel, who also wanted to be his Boswell, interrogated Whitman about events in his life, the poet had no trouble combining a benevolent openness with the slyest possible duplicity. As to Edward Carpenter later on – he was always much more on his ...

Petty Grotesques

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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... always stirs me to the deeps,’ Whitman observed late in life in a conversation with Horace Traubel, and he was soon planning a response to Carlyle’s denunciations of the futility of the Civil War and his mockery of American ideals of democracy. He contacted the Church brothers, editors of the recently founded magazine Galaxy, offering ...

Entryism

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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... not a conquering vision: ‘I’d rather anything should happen to us,’ he wrote to his disciple Horace Traubel, ‘than that we should add one inch of territory to our domain by conquest.’ Nonetheless there are moments in Whitman that tip over into something more troubling: we will build ‘an enlarg’d, general, superior humanity’, he writes in ...

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