Walt Whitman

Alana Eaton

Biographical Information

Born: May 31, 1819

Place of Birth: West Hills, New York

Death: March 26, 1892

Place of Death: Camden, New Jersey

Occupation: Poet and Journalist

Nickname: The Bard of Democracy

Family:

  • Second child of eight
  • Born in a modest family
  • At the age of three, moved to Brooklyn for his father to take advantage of the economic opportunities.
  • At eleven, he was pulled out of school to work since his father could not support the family on his own.
  • Worked in the printing business

Other Information:

  • At seventeen, he turned to teaching
  • Started a weekly paper called the Long-Islander and then became editor for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
  • Moved to New Orleans and became editor for the Crescent
  • Returned to New York City and started a "new soil" newspaper called the Brooklyn Freeman.


Common Themes and Subject Matter

  • He had his own love for America and its Democracy which can be attributed to his upbringings and his parents, which named his brothers after George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson.
  • He backed what some considered radical postions on women's property rights, immagration and labor issues.
  • He often worried about the impact of slavery on the future of the nation and its democracy.

Major Works

Leaves of Grass:

  • Written in 1855, Leaves of Grass was his first self-published poems.
  • Was reconignized as "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom"
  • In 1856, he revised Leaves of Grass to have 33 poems instead of 12.

Drum-Taps:

  • Published in 1862 and represented a more solemn relization of what the Civil War meant.
  • Included " Beat! Beat! Drums!" and "Vigil Strange I Kept on the Field One Night"

Democratic Vistas and Passage to India:

  • Published in 1870
  • Last to ever be written