Commentary

Selected Criticism

Title:
Miller, Edwin Haviland (1918–2001)
Author:
Kummings, Donald D.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

One of the most eminent Whitman scholars in the latter half of the twentieth century, E.H. Miller began his work on the poet by identifying and locating his letters. In 1957, with his wife Rosalind S. Miller, he issued a checklist of Whitman's correspondence. This book amounted to spadework that resulted in five volumes of The Correspondence of Walt Whitman (1961–1969), which were among the inaugural publications in the monumental Collected Writings of Walt Whitman (New York University Press, 1961–1984). In 1977 Miller added to the Collected Writings a sixth volume of letters: A Supplement with a Composite Index. Years later he would revisit the correspondence, publishing Selected Letters of Walt Whitman (University of Iowa Press, 1990) and "The Correspondence of Walt Whitman: A Second Supplement with an Updated Calendar of Letters Written to Whitman" (Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, Special Double Issue, 1991). Reviewers have expressed only the highest praise for Miller's editorship, finding his judgment beyond reproach, his mastery of detail extraordinary.

Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and educated at Lehigh (A.B., 1940), Pennsylvania State (A.M., 1942), and Harvard (Ph.D., 1951), Miller taught at Penn State (1940–1942; 1945–1946) and Simmons College in Boston (1947–1961) before spending twenty-five years at New York University (1961–1986). Along with his work on the correspondence, Miller has edited A Century of Whitman Criticism (1969) and The Artistic Legacy of Walt Whitman (1970). He has authored Walt Whitman's Poetry: A Psychological Journey (1968) and Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself": A Mosaic of Interpretations (1989). Walt Whitman's Poetry is a celebrated example of psychoanalytic criticism. It reflects Miller's profound interest in connections between literature and psychology, as do his two biographies: Melville (1975) and Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1991).

Bibliography

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie. The Growth of "Leaves of Grass": The Organic Tradition in Whitman Studies. Columbia, S.C.: Camden House, 1993.


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