Commentary

Selected Criticism

Title:
Evening Tattler (New York)
Author:
Bawcom, Amy M.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

In May or June of 1842, a few weeks after Nelson Herrick and John F. Ropes discharged him (on grounds of "loaferism") as editor of the New York Aurora, Whitman began editing yet another paper, the Evening Tattler, a small daily that sold for a penny a copy. The Tattler had been founded in 1839 by Park Benjamin and Rufus W. Griswold, two individuals who had long since departed by the time Whitman joined the newspaper. During his two or three months at the Tattler, Whitman wrote editorials not unlike those he had produced for the Aurora—on typical New York characters and scenes. He also continued his feud with Herrick and Ropes, printing accusations and insults whenever possible. At the Evening Tattler, which was emblematic of the rough-and-tumble world of nineteenth-century American journalism, where jobs were often tenuous and where invective and vitriol were the order of the day, Whitman, at twenty-three, was nevertheless defining himself as a literary professional.

Bibliography

Allen, Gay Wilson. The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman. 1955. Rev. ed. 1967. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985.

Stovall, Floyd. The Foreground of "Leaves of Grass." Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1974.


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