Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman biogrphay and his life history

Walt Whitman (English: Walter “Walt” Whitman) (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. Famous as a humanist, Whitman combined realism and realism in his works. Whitman is one of the most influential American poets. He is also called the father of free rhythm. His work created considerable controversy at the time. In particular, his poetry collection Leaves of Grass was criticized for excessive profanity.


Whitman was born in Long Island, New York, USA. Along with publishing her poetry, she also worked as a journalist, teacher, government clerk, and volunteer nurse in the American Civil War. Early in his career, he wrote a temperance novel called Franklin Evans (1842). In 1855 he published his seminal book Leaves of Grass. The poem was intended to be an American epic work readable by the common man. Before he died in 1892, he expanded and refined this poem in various ways. After suffering a heart attack towards the end of his life, he moved to Camden, New Jersey. He died there when he was 72 years old. His funeral was attended by many common people.


Along with Whitman’s poetry, his sexuality is also widely discussed. Although biographers debate his sexuality, he is generally described as homosexual or bisexual. Although Whitman had sexual experiences with men, his biographers disagree. Whitman was politically aware throughout his life. He was a supporter of the Wilmot Proviso and opposed the expansion of slavery. His poetry presents an egalitarian society’s view of ethnic groups.

Whitman’s Early life and education

On May 31, 1819, Walt Whitman was born in West Hills, Town of Huntington, Long Island. His parents were Walter and Lucia von Velsor Whitman. They were adherents of Quaker thought. Whitman was the second of his parents’ nine children. Soon after the christening, he was nicknamed “Walt” to distinguish his name from his father’s. Walter Whitman Sr. named three of his seven sons after US leaders Andrew Jackson, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson.


Her eldest son was named Jess and one of her sons died at just six months old before being christened. His sixth and youngest son was named Edward. At the age of four, Whitman moved with his family from the West Hills to Brooklyn. Here they had to change their residence several times due to financial problems. Whitman also mentions in his memoirs a troubled and depressed childhood due to their poor financial situation. However, he also talked about a happy moment in his childhood. On July 4, 1825, in a ceremony in Brooklyn, she was once raised to zero, and the Marquis de Lafayette kissed her on the cheek.

Formal education of Whitman

Whitman ended his formal education at the age of eleven. After that, he started trying to work to help his family. At first, he worked as an office boy for two lawyers. Then Patriot named Samuel E. Apprenticed and worked on the Painter’s Devil, a Long Island weekly newspaper edited by Clements. It was here that Whitman learned how to operate a printing press and typesetting. He is believed to have composed “sentimental bits” at that time to fill the pages of some issues of this weekly. He, Clements, and two other friends became embroiled in controversy when they tried to dig up the grave of Quaker minister Elias Hicks and make a plaster mold of his head. Perhaps because of this controversy, Clements left the Patriot shortly thereafter.

Early career

The following summer Whitman began working for another coiner named Erastus Ordington in Brooklyn. His family moved back to West Hill that spring. But Whitman remained there and took a job in the shop of Alden Spooner, editor of the Long-Island Star, the leading weekly newspaper of the Whig Party at the time. While working here, Whitman became a regular patron of the local library. During this time he became a member of a debating organization in the city and started watching plays. At that time he also published some of his early poems anonymously in the New York Mirror.


In May 1835, at the age of sixteen, he left the Long Island Star and Brooklyn and moved to New York City. Here he started working as a typewriter. However, at the end of his life, he could not remember exactly where he used to do this work. Then he started looking for other work. But a terrible fire destroyed the area’s printing and publishing sector, making it difficult for him to find other work. Added to this was the economic distress caused by the Panic of 1837. He returned to his family in May 1836. His family was living in Hampstead, Long Island at the time. Until the spring of 1838, Whitman worked here and there as a school teacher. However, he did not find much satisfaction in teaching.

Walt Whitman grass

Walt Whitman was determined to become a poet. He was the first to experiment with various popular literary genres that reflected the cultural tastes of the time. In the early 1850s, he began writing what became a collection called Leaves of Grass. Later, he edited and revised this collection of poems until his death.

Whitman wanted to write a distinctly American epic and use free verse based on the Bible. In late June 1885, Whitman surprised his brothers by publishing the first printed edition of Leaves of Grass. His brother George then “thought it unreadable”.

Civil war years

The poem called for a “patriotic awakening”. Whitman’s brother George joined the 51st New York Infantry Regiment in the Union Army and wrote to Whitman detailing several incidents of the war.

A list of killed and wounded soldiers in the New York Tribune on December 16, 1862, included the name of “First Lieutenant GW Whitmore”, causing Whitman to worry for his brother George. He immediately heads south to find her, though his wallet is stolen along the way. He walks all day and night visiting big people trying to find out about his brother and finally, he finds George alive.

George was only slightly injured and only had a bruise on his cheek. Whitman left for Washington on December 28, 1862, deeply moved by the sight of the wounded soldiers and their piles of dismembered limbs, intending never to return to New York.

Literary work

Whitman’s works differed from the poetic structure in that they were more generally prose. His writing style deviated from the established conventions of his predecessors and included “varied treatment of body and soul as well as self and others”. His writing uses unusual imagery and symbols, including rotting leaves, pieces of hay, and debris.

Poetic theory

In the preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass, Whitman wrote: “The proof of a poet is that his country embraces him as lovingly as he embraces her.” He believed that there is an essential deep connection between the poet and the society. He refers to this relationship in the poem “Song of Myself” and here he uses a strong good person or “I”. Here the author deviates from the historical usage of a noble hero and adopts the identity of the common man. In Leaves of Grass also on the public in the United States, The effects of recent urbanization are described.

Health deterioration and death

After suffering a paralytic stroke in early 1873, Whitman was prompted to move from Washington to the home of his brother, engineer George Washington Whitman, at 431 Stevens Street in Camden, New Jersey. His ailing mother stayed there and died in May of that year.

Walt Whitman lived in his brother’s house until he bought his own house in 1884. Whitman spent most of his time living at his brother’s house on Stevens Street in Camden before buying his house. He was very productive while living there. During that time he published three editions of Leaves of Grass, among other works. His other brother, Edward, an “invalid” from birth, lived at home.

Inheritance and influence

Walt Whitman is claimed to be the first “poet of democracy” in the United States, reflecting his ability to write in a singularly American character. Mary Whittall Smith Costello, an American-British friend of Whitman’s, wrote: “You cannot understand America without Walt Whitman, without Leaves of Grass.

He expresses that civilization, is ‘up to date,’ as he says, and no student of the philosophy of history can complete a history lesson without him. Andrew Carnegie called him “the greatest American poet ever.” Whitman himself was a messiah in poetry,  Many believed that one of his admirers, William Sloan Kennedy, speculated that “people will celebrate the birth of Walt Whitman because they are now the creation of Christ”.

Whitman as a European writers

Many, including Oscar Wilde and Edward Carpenter, considered Whitman a prophet of a utopian future and homosexual desire. This attitude was also intertwined with their aspirations for a future of fraternal socialism. Whitman also influenced Dracula’s author Bram Stoker and was a model for the character Dracula. Stoker stated in his notes that Dracula represented the ideal man, which to Stoker was Whitman, with whom he corresponded until Whitman’s death.

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