For the Whitman bicentennial, a delightful keepsake edition of the incomparable wisdom of America's greatest poet, distilled from his fascinating late-in-life conversations with Horace Traubel.
Toward the end of his life, Walt Whitman was visited almost daily at his home in Camden, New Jersey, by the young poet and social reformer Horace Traubel. After each visit, Traubel meticulously recorded their conversation, transcribing with such sensitivity that Whitman’s friend John Burroughs remarked that he felt he could almost hear the poet breathing. In Walt Whitman Speaks, acclaimed author Brenda Wineapple draws from Traubel’s extensive interviews an extraordinary gathering of Whitman’s observations that conveys the core of his ethos and vision. Here is Whitman the sage, champion of expansiveness and human freedom. Here, too, is the poet’s more personal side—his vivid memories of Thoreau, Emerson, and Lincoln, his literary judgments on writers such as Shakespeare, Goethe, and Tolstoy, and his expressions of hope in the democratic promise of the nation he loved. The result is a keepsake edition to touch the soul, capturing the distilled wisdom of America’s greatest poet.
About the Author
Brenda Wineapple is the author of The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation, Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise 1848-1877, a New York Times Notable Book, and White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. For Library of America, she has edited John Greenleaf Whittier: Selected Poems, volume 10 in the American Poets Project. Wineapple has received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and, most recently, a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholars Award for her forthcoming book on the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.
"A treasure of Walt unvarnished, reflective and still firing on all cylinders into his 70s. From single sentences to long paragraphs, it is endlessly quotable and perfect for dipping into and savouring." —The Guardian
"Brenda Wineapple’s pithy volume, in its bare-bones efficiency, allows us to appreciate ... the best of Whitman’s off-the-cuff remarks." —Christoph Irmscher, The Wall Street Journal
"This little book samples his rambling chats with friend Traubel in the last years of Whitman’s life. It’s uplifting, invigorating, full of American talk. And a great read any season." —Philadelphia Inquirer