Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography

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In his poetry Walt Whitman set out to encompass all of America and in so doing heal its deepening divisions. This magisterial biography demonstrates the epic scale of his achievement, as well as the dreams and anxieties that impelled it, for it places the poet securely within the political and cultural context of his age.
Combing through the full range of Whitman's writing, David Reynolds shows how Whitman gathered inspiration from every stratum of nineteenth-century American life: the convulsions of slavery and depression; the raffish dandyism of the Bowery "b'hoys"; the exuberant rhetoric of actors, orators, and divines. We see how Whitman reconciled his own sexuality with contemporary social mores and how his energetic courtship of the public presaged the vogues of advertising and celebrity. Brilliantly researched, captivatingly told, Walt Whitman's America is a triumphant work of scholarship that breathes new life into the biographical genre.

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WALT WHITMAN'S AMERICA: A Cultural Biography

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This absorbing portrait of America's greatest poetic personality contains multitudes, all right. It opens onto a vast panorama of the United States in the 19th century, redefining the horizons of ... Read full review

Walt Whitman's America: a cultural biography

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Whitman, the Good Gray Poet, was born into a time when slavery and the new market economy had just begun to transform the nation. Reynolds (Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination ... Read full review

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