Walt Whitman's Reconstruction
Poetry and Publishing between Memory and History
Publication Year: 2011
For Walt Whitman, living and working in Washington, D.C., after the Civil War, Reconstruction meant not only navigating these tumultuous years alongside his fellow citizens but also coming to terms with his own memories of the war. Just as the work of national reconstruction would continue long past its official end in 1877, Whitman’s own reconstruction would continue throughout the remainder of his life as he worked to revise his poetic project—and his public image—to incorporate the disasters that had befallen the Union. In this innovative and insightful analysis of the considerable poetic and personal reimagining that is the hallmark of these postwar years, Martin Buinicki reveals the ways that Whitman reconstructed and read the war.
Published by: University of Iowa Press
Title Page, Copyright
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This book would not have been possible without the generosity and support of a number of people who may not fully realize the debt of gratitude that I owe them, and I am happy to have a moment here to offer some slight recompense...
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1. Walt Whitman’s Reconstruction
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On May 23rd, 1865, the combined might of nearly the entire Union army gathered for one last march. Two hundred thousand strong they came, wending their way through the streets of Washington, D.C., for a magnificent...
2. Periodicals, Politics, and the New Paper World
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Walt Whitman’s Civil War writings, while voluminous and complex, were only one small eddy in a river of texts that emerged from the confluence of the wrenching national conflict and the dramatic transformation of the publishing...
3. Whitman and the Elusive Site of Memory
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The rise of American periodicals and the continued expansion of the publishing business that followed the Civil War coincided with a rush to commemorate and then, as years passed, to document definitively the events that took place. National monuments...
4. “By the Roadside” and Whitman’s Narrative of Poetic (Re)Awakening
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As formal Reconstruction came to a close and commemorating the war took precedence over the contentious political debates in the public imagination, Whitman returned once more to the task of the next edition of...
5. Whitman’s General
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The dramatic changes in the partisan press after the war matched the considerable upheaval in the post–Civil War political landscape in the United States. While the Democratic Party was clearly in disarray following the war...
6. Reconstructing His Story
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Whitman saw his Memoranda as an effort to preserve the truth of the Civil War by honoring the blank spaces, the undocumented struggles, and the unknown dead, at the same time the country was preoccupied...
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Page Count: 187
Publication Year: 2011