Whitman among the Bohemians by Joanna Levin, Edward Whitley

By Joanna Levin, Edward Whitley

For numerous years earlier than and simply after his 1860 variation of Leaves of Grass appeared, Walt Whitman usually frequented Pfaff’s beer cellar in downtown new york. The basement bar used to be the very middle of mid-nineteenth-century American bohemian task and used to be seriously patronized by way of writers, artists, musicians, actors, intellectuals, and radicals similar to free-love recommend Henry Clapp, Jr., and Broadway succès de scandale Adah Isaacs Menken. a number of artistic and political ventures emerged from this surroundings, and not less than bohemian literary weeklies, The New-York Saturday Press and Vanity Fair, shared origins round the tables at Pfaff’s.

during this milieu, Whitman chanced on sympathetic supporters of his poetic imaginative and prescient, expert connections, opponents, romantic companions, and shut pals, and left a long-lasting effect on poet and critic Edmund Clarence Stedman, an erstwhile bohemian who later within the century emerged as a tastemaker of yankee poetry. but for a few years, the bohemians linked to Pfaff’s have served simply as minor heritage characters in Whitman scholarship. Whitman one of the Bohemians corrects that via exploring extensive the connections Whitman made at Pfaff’s and the influence they'd on him, his poetry, and his profession. In telling the tale of those intersecting social hyperlinks that converged at Pfaff’s within the overdue 1850s and early 1860s, the essays during this quantity powerfully exhibit simply how a lot we will be able to know about Whitman and his paintings by means of viewing him in the context of yank bohemia.

CONTRIBUTORS: Stephanie Blalock, Ruth Bohan, Leif Eckstrom, Logan Esdale, Amanda Gailey, Karen Karbiener, Joanna Levin, Mary Loeffelholz, Eliza Richards, Ingrid Satelmajer, Robert J. Scholnick, Edward Whitley

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56. Allen, Solitary Singer, 242. Whitman may have held a grudge against Gaylor because of the nasty review: in 1870, he described Gaylor’s play “Fritz, Our German Cousin” as a “miserable, sickish piece” (Stovall, Foreground, 3). 57. All these plays receive mention in George Clinton Odell’s Annals of the New York Stage, Vol. 6 (1850–1857) and Vol. 7 (1857–1865) (New York: Columbia University Press, 1931). 58. edu/pfaffs. 59. According to D. J. ” See “Sixty Years of Newspaper Making,” BDT, Feb. 28, 1908.

The first four of the manuscript’s five pages have notes for an editorial on the Brooklyn Water Works on their versos. 14 } C h a pt e r o n e 5. See Stansell, “Whitman at Pfaff ’s,” 115. ” Whitman’s lists of addresses for other Pfaffian regulars indicate they lived much closer to Pfaff ’s: Ada Clare lived at “86 42nd St,” William Swinton at “154 West 26th St bet. 7th & 8th av”; and Fred Gray Association member Charles Chauncey at “23 Lafayette Place” (NUPM 1:432, 453; 2:494). 6. Whitman lived in Manhattan from 1835 to 1836 and again from 1841 to 1845; his Brooklyn years span from 1823 to 1835 and from 1845 to 1862.

Who, like the poet, was a former temperance writer turned carousing bohemian. ” The men had much in common: they were older than most of the other bohemians who frequented Pfaff ’s; they were interested in exploring alternatives to male-­female monogamy; they both had Quaker roots but unorthodox religious beliefs; and they both felt trepidation about the looming war. ”2 War was only getting closer, and the bohemians would soon learn that any movement that neglected this somber fact would find itself irrelevant.

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