Walt Whitman


Works by Whitman published during his lifetime

1842. Franklin Evans; or, The Inebriate. A conventional temperance novel indicative of Whitman's own beliefs about liquor. It was first serialized in the New World and sold twenty thousand copies.

1845. The Half-Breed. This novella sympathetically portrays an Indian who is accused unjustly of theft and murder but accepts his execution with Christ-like forbearance.

1855. Leaves of Grass. Published at the author's expense and made up of only twelve poems, the collection of experimental free verse celebrates America and the American character.

1856. Leaves of Grass (second edition). Whitman expands the original twelve poems of the 1855 edition to thirty-two.

1860. Leaves of Grass (third edition). Whitman adds 146 new poems and alters and renames previously published poems, and for the first time groups them in several "clusters," including the "Calamus" poems dealing with love between men. It sells more copies and provokes more reviews than did earlier editions.


This engraving, from an oil painting by Charles W. Hine, was
used as the fronticepiece of the the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass.

1865. Drum-Taps. A collection of poems inspired by Whitman's work in military hospitals during the Civil War. After Lincoln's death, Sequel to Drum-Taps, which contains "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," is quickly appended to the earlier collection, and the two are sold together. Both Drum-Taps and the additional verse in its sequel would be included in the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass.

1867. Leaves of Grass, (fourth edition). The so-called workshop edition adds six new poems.

1871. Democratic Vistas. In this prose work Whitmandiscusses democracy and its problems (especially political corruption) during the Reconstruction era. He advocates finding a balance between individualism and democracy to attain future greatness and suggests that this balance can be best attained by poets and novelists.

1871. Leaves of Grass (1871-1872 edition). The fifth edition adds twenty-four new poems and incorporates Drum-Taps. Whitman also published Passage to India in pamphlet form. This long poem was inspired by the Atlantic telegraph cable, the Suez Canal and the Union Pacific Railroad, which Whitman believed would bring about a new era of peace by connecting the material nature of the Western Hemisphere with the spiritual essence of the Eastern Hemisphere. It was eventually included in the 1876 edition of Leaves of Grass.

1875. Memorandum during the War. A collection of articles printed in the New York Weekly Graphic in 1874 that praise the idealistic sacrifices made in the Civil War and criticize the self-centered business ethos of the Gilded Age. It was included in the centennial edition and as a section of Specimen Days (1882).

1876. Leaves of Grass (Centennial Edition). This sixth edition includes the companion volume Two Rivulets, a collection of typographical and visual experiments designed to break down "the barriers of form between Prose and Poetry."

1881. Leaves of Grass, (seventh edition). This is the first edition to be distributed by a mainstream publisher, James R. Osgood and Company of Boston. After selling fifteen hundred copies, Osgood withdrew it after a district attorney threatened to prosecute the publisher for selling obscene literature. In the Osgood edition, Whitman had cut thirty-nine poems, added seventeen, and modified hundreds of lines, while regrouping poems into thematic and dramatic clusters.

1882. Specimen Days and Collect. Contains journal entries and personal recollections about his childhood in Long Island and the Civil War, and literary criticism of authors he had met on travels to Boston, Canada, and the American West.

1888. November Boughs. A collection of poetry, essays, and criticism, much of which had been previously published in the New York Herald. Most significant is the preface, "A Backward Glance o'er Travel'd Roads," which would become the preface to the 1889 edition of Leaves of Grass.

1889. Leaves of Grass, (eighth edition). This special pocket-size edition includes the poems of November Boughs (1888) and its prose preface, "A Backward Glance o'er Travel'd Roads".

1891. Good-Bye My Fancy. This last collection of Whitman’s poetry and prose published during his lifetime contains reflections on his art, life, aging, illness, and death.

1892. Leaves of Grass. The final ninth, so-called Death-Bed Edition adds the poems "Old Age Echoes" and "A Backward Glance o'er Travel'd Roads".


Scholarly Editions

Bradley, Sculley et al.Leaves of Grass: A Textual Variorum of the Printed Poems, 3 vols. New York: New York University Press, 1980.

_____ and Harold W. Blodgett (eds). Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass. New York: W. W. Norton, 1973.

Brasher, Thomas (ed.). The Early Poems and the Fiction. New York: New York University Press, 1963.

Cowley, Malcolm (ed.). The Complete Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman, 2 vols. New York: Pellegrini & Cudahy, 1948.

Genoways, Ted (ed.). Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, VII. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004.

Greenspan, Ezra (ed.). Walt Whitman's ‘Song of Myself': A Sourcebook and Critical Edition. New York: Routledge, 2005.

Grier, Edward F. (ed.). Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, 6 vols. New York: New York University Press, 1984.

Miller, Edwin H. (ed.). The Correspondence, 6 vols. New York: New York University Press, 1961-77.

Miller, James E., Jr. Walt Whitman: Complete Poetry and Selected Prose. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959.

Stoval, Floyd (ed.). Prose Works, 2 vols. New York: New York University Press, 1984.

White, William (ed.). Daybooks and Notebooks, 3 vols. New York: New York University Press, 1978.



Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985 [1975].

Bucke. R. M. Walt Whitman. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883.

Callow, Philip. From Noon to Starry Night: A Life of Walt Whitman. Chicago: I.R. Dee, 1992.

Kaplan, Justin. Walt Whitman, a Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1980.

Masters, Edgar Lee. Whitman. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937.

Miller, James E. Walt Whitman. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990.

Myerson, Joel (ed.). Whitman in his own time: a biographical chronicle of his life, drawn from recollections, memoirs, and interviews by friends and associates. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 1991.

Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman's America: a Cultural Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Schmidgall, Gary. Walt Whitman: A Gay Life. NY: Dutton, 1997.

Zweig, Paul. Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet. New York: Basic Books, 1984.


Book-length Studies and Essay Collections

Allen, Gay Wilson. The New Walt Whitman Handbook. New York and London: New York University Press, 1986 [1975].

___. A Reader’s Guide to Walt Whitman. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970.

Aspiz, Harold. So Long! Walt Whitman's Poetry of Death. Tuscaloosa: University  of Alabama Press, 2004.

Aspiz, Harold. Walt Whitman and the Body Beautiful. Urbana: University  of Illinois Press, 1980.

Asselineau, Roger, and Ed Folsom. The Evolution of Walt Whitman. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 1999.

Bauerlein, Mark. Whitman and the American Idiom. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991.

Belasco, Susan; Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price (eds). Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.

Black, Stephen A. Whitman’s Journeys into Chaos: A Psychological Study of the Poetic Process. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1975.

Blake, David Haven and Michael Robertson (eds). Walt Whitman, Where the Future becomes Present. Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2008.

Blake, David H. Walt Whitman and the Culture of American Celebrity. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.

Bohan, Ruth L. Looking into Walt Whitman: American Art, 1850-1920. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006.

Bucke, R. M. Cosmic Consciousness. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1901.

Chari, V. K. Walt Whitman in the Light of Vedantic Mysticism. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964.

Erkkila, Betsy. Whitman the Political Poet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Folsom, Ed., and Kenneth M. Price. Re-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

Folsom, Ed. Whitman Making Books, Books Making Whitman: A Catalog & Commentary. Iowa City: University of Iowa, 2005.

Gardner, Thomas. Discovering Ourselves in Whitman: The Contemporary American Long Poem. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

Grossman, Jay. Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

Hollis, C. Carroll. Language And Style In Leaves Of Grass. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983.

Hutchinson, George B. The Ecstatic Whitman: Literary Shamanisn and the Crisis of the Union. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1986.

Knapp, Bettina L. Walt Whitman. NY: Continuum, 1993.

Kuebrich, David. Minor Prophecy: Walt Whitman's New American Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

Lawson, Andrew. Walt Whitman and the Class Struggle. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006.

Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. Berkeley: U of California P, 1999.

_____. Emerson, Whitman, and the American Muse. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982.

Mack, Stephen J. The Pragmatic Whitman: Reimagining American Democracy. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2002.

Maslan, Mark. Whitman Possessed: Poetry, Sexuality, and Popular Authority. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Miller, James E., Jr. Leaves of Grass: America’s Lyric-Epic of Self and Democracy. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992.

_____. The American Quest for a Supreme Fiction: Whitman’s Legacy in the Personal Epic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979.

Pannapacker, William. Revised Lives: Walt Whitman and Nineteenth-Century Authorship. NY: Routledge, 2004.

Perlman, Jim, Ed Folsom and Dan Campion (eds). Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song. Minneapolis: Holy Cow! Press, 1981.

Pollak, Vivian R. The Erotic Whitman. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Price, Kenneth M. To Walt Whitman, America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

Robertson, Michael: Worshipping Walt: The Whitman Disciples. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman. NY: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Thomas, M. Wynn. Transatlantic Connections: Whitman U.S., Whitman U.K. Iowa City: U of Iowa P, 2005.

Vendler, Helen. Poets Thinking: Pope, Whitman, Dickinson, Yeats. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Woodress, James L., ed. Critical essays on Walt Whitman. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1983.


Articles and Chapters of Books

Allen, Gay Wilson. "Origin of the Walt Whitman Handbook: A Personal History." West Hills Review 6 (1986): 11-21.

Bastos, María Luisa. "Whitman as Inscribed in Borges" in Carlos Cortínez, ed. Borges the Poet (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1986): 219-231.

Bauerlein, Mark. "The Written Orator of 'Song of Myself': A Recent Trend in Whitman Criticism." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 3 (Winter 1986): 1-14.

Bell, Ian F. A. "Lockean Sensationalism and American Literary Language." Journal of American Studies 20 (August 1986): 291-293.

Bly, Robert. "Whitman's Line as a Public Form." in American Poetry Review 15 (March/April 1986): 5.

Bollobas, Eniko. "Walt Whitman's Alternative: Organic Form" in Tradition and Innovation in American Free Verse: Whitman to Duncan. Budapest: Akademiai Kiado, 1986: 59-118.]

Braudy, Leo. "Dickinson and Whitman: The Audience of Solitude" in The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986: 462-475.

Bruder, Harry. "Transcendental Tongue of Clay: Deconstructing Whitman's Voice." Pompa (1986): 13-22.

Cumming, Mark. "Carlyle, Whitman, and the Disimprisonment of Epic" in Victorian Studies 29 (Winter 1986): 207-226.

Durand, Regís. "Walt Whitman: The Poet as Modernist" in Roland Hagenbüchle and Laura Skandera, eds. Poetry and Epistemology: Turning Points in the History of Poetic Knowledge (Regensburg: Pustet, 1986): 125-134.

Engle, Paul. "Two Long Island Voices Heard in the Heartland" in Norbert Krapf, ed., Under Open Sky: Poets on William Cullen Bryant. New York: Fordham University Press, 1986: 62-66.

French, R. W. "Reading 'Song of Myself'" in  San Jose Studies 12 (Spring 1986): 75-83.

Gilbert, Sandra. "The American Sexual Politics of Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson." in Sacvan Bercovitch, ed., Reconstructing American Literary History (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986): 123-154.

Golden, Arthur. "The Ending of the 1855 Version of 'Song of Myself'" in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 3 (Spring 1986): 27-30.

Goodblatt, Chanit, and Joseph Glicksohn. "Cognitive Psychology and Whitman's 'Song of Myself'" in Mosaic 19 (Summer 1986), 83-90.

Gougeon, Len. “Emerson, Whitman, and Eros” inWalt Whitman Quarterly Review (23:3-4), 2006: 126-46.

Jarrell, Randall. “Some Lines from Whitman” in Poetry and the Age. New York: The Ecco Press, 1980 [1953]: 112-32.

Hollis, C. Carroll. "Is There a Text in This Grass?"  in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 3 (Winter 1986): 15-22.

Kajiwara, Teruko. “Is 'Calamus' a Gay Discourse? Reading 'Calamus' (1860) in the 'Ensemble, Spirit & Atmosphere' of Leaves of Grass” in Studies in English Literature (47), 2006: 181-201.

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. "Whitman's Sexual Themes during a Decade of Revision: 1866-1876" in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 4 (Summer 1986): 7-15.

Krieg, Joann P. "The Long Island Letters of Schoolmaster Whitman" in West Hills Review 6 (1986): 41-49.

Leonard, Douglas. "The Art of Walt Whitman's French in 'Song of Myself' " in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 3 (Spring 1986): 24-27.

Martin, Reginald. "The Self-Contradiction Literatus: Walt Whitman and His Two Views of Blacks in America" in Calamus. 27 (March 1986): 13-22.

McMahon, William E. "Grass and Its Mate in 'Song of Myself'" in South Atlantic Review 51 (January 1986): 41-55.

Miller, Jr., James E. "Whitman's Leaves and the American Lyric Epic" in Neil Fraistat, ed., Poems in Their Place (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1986): 289-307.

Monteiro, George. "Fire and Smoke: Emerson's Letter to Whitman" in Modern Language Studies 15 (Spring 1986): 3-8.

Moore, William L. "The Gestation of the First Edition of Leaves of Grass, 1855: Walt Whitman's Early Note-Taking Years, 1847-54" in Calamus 28 (December 1986): 21-39.

Quinlan, Kieran. "Sea and Sea-Shore in 'Song of Myself': Whitman's Liquid Theme" in Patricia Ann Carlson, ed. Literature and the Lore of the Sea (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1986): 185-192.

Scholnick, Robert J. "'The Password Primeval': Whitman's Use of Science in 'Song of Myself.'" In Studies in the Renaissance (1986): 385-425.

Smith, Ernest: “'Restless Explorations': Whitman's Evolving Spiritual Vision in Leaves of Grass” in Papers on Language and Literature: A Journal for Scholars and Critics of Language and Literature (43:3), 2007: 227-63.

Smith, Reginald. "The Quarternary Structure of Symbolism in Whitman's 'Lilacs': A Synchronic Analysis" in Calamus 28 (December 1986): 1-20.

Vendler, Helen. "Body Language: Leaves of Grass and the Articulation of Sexual Awareness" in Harper's Magazine 273 (October 1986): 62-66.

Vendler, Helen. "Whitman's 'When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd'" in Mary Ann Caws, ed. Textual Analysis: Some Readers Reading (New York: Modern Language Association, 1986): 132-143.