Critical Companion to Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work

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9780816057689: Critical Companion to Walt Whitman: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work

"Critical Companion to Walt Whitman" contains entries on every one of Walt Whitman's poems, from the widely recognized "Song of Myself," "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," and "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," to his minor works. His major prose works, such as "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads" and "Democratic Vistas", each edition of "Leaves of Grass", and unique terms used or coined by Whitman, such as "Eidolons" and "Paumanok," are also covered. Helping readers understand the influences on his life are entries on Whitman's family, friends, relatives, and acquaintances; important places where he lived and worked; and ideas important to his work. An essential reference guide, this single-volume addition to the "Critical Companion" series delivers a wealth of information on the life and works of this great American author.

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Whitman's published works, life, and impact on his readers are covered in this volume, which is divided into four parts. Part 1, "Biography," contains an essay on Whitman from his early years to the oration at his funeral. Here the reader learns about Whitman's varied working experiences as a journalist and how his writings relate to events such as the Civil War. Part 2, "Works A-Z," has descriptions and publication information for all of Whitman's works: 400 poems, one novel, essays, and short stories. Entries vary in length from a brief sentence to several pages. The entry for "Song of Myself" is 12 pages long and contains detailed description and analysis.

Part 3, "Related People, Places, Publications, and Topics," contains alphabetically arranged entries on people who had an influence on his life, publications that published Whitman's works, and terms relating to Whitman's works or beliefs, and more. Examples include Anne Gilchrist, "an Englishwoman who fell in love with Whitman's poetry and then with the poet himself"; Music and Whitman's poetry; and Whitman in journalism. Part 4 provides appendixes, which include a chronology of Whitman's life, a journalism chronology of his years as a reporter and editor, bibliographies of his published works, his addresses, terms used in his works, his will, a genealogy, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Black-and-white photographs depict Whitman throughout his life.

This is a superb resource and a worthwhile addition to literature collections in academic and large public libraries. Carol Sue Harless
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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