Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography
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- Sales Rank:334,490
- Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
- Number Of Items:1
- Shipping Weight (lbs):1.4
- Dimensions (in):8 x 5.2 x 1.4
- Publication Date:March 19, 1996
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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.
The greatest American poet is portrayed in this monumental biography as an essential American, not an isolated mystic but a man formed in large measure by his rapidly changing society. Drawing on his diligent research, and on his experience writing the monumental work Beneath the American Renaissance, noted scholar David S. Reynolds conclusively demonstrates the profound impact the popular culture of his day had on Whitman's awakening as an artist. This copious (nearly 700 page) volume tells the story of 19th-century America as well as the story of the Whitman himself.
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