Walt Whitman by David S. ReynoldsWalt Whitman by David S. Reynolds

Walt Whitman

byDavid S. Reynolds

Hardcover | December 15, 2004

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From the great events of the day to the patient workings of a spider, few poets responded to the life around them as powerfully as Walt Whitman. Now, in this brief but bountiful volume, David S. Reynolds offers a wealth of insight into the life and work of Whitman, examining the author throughthe lens of nineteenth-century America. Reynolds shows how Whitman responded to contemporary theater, music, painting, photography, science, religion, and sex. But perhaps nothing influenced Whitman more than the political events of his lifetime, as the struggle over slavery threatened to rip apart the national fabric. America, hebelieved, desperately needed a poet to hold together a society that was on the verge of unraveling. He created his powerful, all-absorbing poetic "I" to heal a fragmented nation that, he hoped, would find in his poetry new possibilities for inspiration and togetherness. Reynolds also examines theinfluence of theater, describing how Whitman's favorite actor, the tragedian Junius Brutus Booth--"one of the grandest revelations of my life"--developed a powerfully emotive stage style that influenced Leaves of Grass, which took passionate poetic expression to new heights. Readers will alsodiscover how from the new medium of photography Whitman learned democratic realism and offered in his poetry "photographs" of common people engaged in everyday activities. Reynolds concludes with an appraisal of Whitman's impact on American letters, an influence that remains strong today. Solidly grounded in historical and biographical facts, and exceptionally wide-ranging in the themes it treats, Walt Whitman packs a dazzling amount of insight into a compact volume.
David S. Reynolds is Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at Baruch College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Among his many books are Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography, which won the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Beneath the Am...
Title:Walt WhitmanFormat:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 5.59 × 8.31 × 0.79 inPublished:December 15, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195170091

ISBN - 13:9780195170092

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Editorial Reviews

"In Walt Whitman, David Reynolds has distilled the key findings of his encyclopedic Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography and now makes Whitman's cultural life--and his transformation of that life into art--accessible to readers at all levels. Every page contains suggestions,discoveries, and insights that will send students back to Whitman's poetry with renewed enthusiasm. This is an innovative and illuminating introduction to Whitman and his work." --Ed Folsom, Editor, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review