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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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... With the publication of Volumes VIII and IX, some ninety years after the appearance in 1906 of the first volume, all two and a half million words of HoraceTraubel’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 ...

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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... bodies. But Whitman, who took to Poe at once and liked his work, had a dark side too, and a sensuous passion for the dead and their graves, for night as the mother, and for oblivion. When his friend HoraceTraubel, 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 ...

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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... furore, but in various American papers. Walt Whitman read it in the New York Tribune of 16 August. ‘Carlyle always stirs me to the deeps,’ Whitman observed late in life in a conversation with HoraceTraubel, 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 ...


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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... account of that conflict: ‘The real war will never get into the books.’) Crucially, this is not a conquering vision: ‘I’d rather anything should happen to us,’ he wrote to his disciple HoraceTraubel, ‘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 ...

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