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The early life and poetry of walt whitman

Whitman Magnus opus was Leaves of Grass, a groundbreaking new style of poetry. He was the second child in a family of eleven. At the age of twelve, Whitman began learning to work as a printer.

  1. So in 1836 he became a teacher.
  2. Even though Whitman claimed that the first edition sold out, the book in fact had very poor sales. In his writings he suggested that all religions were valid, but he himself did not adhere to one particular creed.
  3. The Complete Works of Walt Whitman.

It was around this time that he discovered a great passion for literature. Largely self-taught, he read voraciously, including works by the great classic writers — Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and the Bible. After a devastating fire in the printing district of New York, Whitman was left without a job, But, in 1836, at the age of 17, he began his career as a teacher in the one-room school houses of Long Island.

He continued to teach until 1841 when he turned to journalism as a full-time career.

  • In 1823 Walter Whitman, Sr;
  • Emerson's letter had a profound impact on Whitman, completely overshadowing the otherwise poor reception the volume received;
  • Living in Washington, Whitman struggled to support himself, as he did through most of his life;
  • Though he admired the Christian Commission, an agency organized by several churches that recruited volunteers to help in the hospitals, Whitman acted independently.

He founded a weekly newspaper, Long-Islander, and later edited a number of Brooklyn and New York papers. In New Orleans, he became witness to the practice of slavery in the city and was repulsed by what he saw. Whitman opposed the extension of slavery, though did not always support the abolitionists, over concerns about their commitment to democracy.

  1. In giving voice to this new camaraderie, Whitman was also inventing a language of homosexuality, and the Calamus poems became very influential poems in the development of gay literature.
  2. Among the new poems in the 1856 edition were "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" one of Whitman's masterpieces , "Salut au Monde! With the 1860 edition of Leaves, Whitman began the incessant rearrangement of his poems in various clusters and groupings.
  3. In any event, his first notebook lines in the manner of Leaves of Grass focus directly on the fundamental issue dividing the United States.
  4. While the wounded were being moved from a train to a steamboat for the trip up the Potomac, Whitman wandered among them, writing down their messages to their families, promising to send them, comforting the soldiers with his calm and concern. The Long Island Star recognized his value as a journalist and, once he resettled in Brooklyn, quickly arranged to have him compose a series of editorials, two or three a week, from September 1845 to March 1846.
  5. He assisted in the burial of the dead still lying on the bloody battlefield, where on December 13 there had been 18,000 Northern and Southern troops killed or wounded and where, the next day, Robert E. Having finished school at the age of eleven, Whitman changed several jobs.

He closely followed politics throughout his life. As well as journalism, Whitman became absorbed in poetry, writing a unique and distinctive style. I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

He was astonished by the unique style of Whitman. I am very happy in reading it, as great power makes us happy. Walt Whitman, aged 35. He praised the volume extensively, and this helped Whitman gain greater recognition. In 1856, he released a second edition, containing thirty-three poems, a letter from Emerson praising the first edition, and a long open letter by Whitman in response. During his subsequent career, Whitman continued to refine the volume, publishing several more editions of the book.

Walt Whitman biography

During the war, he wrote freelance journalism and visited the wounded around New York hospitals. In 1862, he traveled to Washington, D. Overcome by the suffering of the many wounded in Washington, Whitman decided to stay and work in the hospitals.

Walt Whitman Biography

His war time experiences left a profound mark on Whitman. He wrote also of joy and the unending capacity of the human spirit.

He took a job as a clerk for the Department of the Interior, which ended when the Secretary of the Interior, James Harlan, discovered that Whitman was the author of Leaves of Grass, which Harlan found offensive. Harlan fired the poet. Whitman struggled to support himself through most of his life.

He had also been sending money to his widowed mother and an invalid brother. Walt Whitman was heavily influenced by Deism — a belief in God without needing an organised religion.

In his writings he suggested that all religions were valid, but he himself did not adhere to one particular creed. In this broad earth of ours, Amid the measureless grossness and the slag, Enclosed and safe within its central heart, Nestles the seed perfection.

However, after suffering a stroke, Whitman found it impossible to return to Washington. He stayed with his brother until the 1882 publication of Leaves of Grass gave Whitman enough money to buy a home in Camden. In the simple two-story clapboard house, Whitman spent his declining years working on additions and revisions to a new edition of the book and preparing his final volume of poems and prose, Good-Bye, My Fancy 1891.

After his death on March 26, 1892, Whitman was buried in a tomb he designed and had built on a lot in Harleigh Cemetery.

Last updated 10 February 2018.

Walt Whitman

The Complete Works of Walt Whitman.