Commentary

Contemporary Reviews

About this Item

Title: [Review of November Boughs]

Creator: unknown [unsigned in original]

Date: January 1889

Publication information: The Book Buyer 5 (January 1889): 584-5.

Source: The original electronic text for this file was prepared for Walt Whitman, The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Kenneth M. Price (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), and the transcription was completed by consulting a representation of the original (e.g., photocopy, microfilm copy). Following publication of that volume, Price received an updated transcription file from Cambridge University Press, and the Whitman Archive has used the final file from the publisher as the basis for the electronic text presented here.

Whitman Archive ID: anc.00120

Contributors to digital file: Natalie O'Neal, Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, and Todd Stabley


NOVEMBER BOUGHS By Walt Whitman.

Time only can determine the exact place which Walt Whitman is to occupy among the world's thinkers; and meanwhile it is instructive and interesting to learn from this volume something of the origin, growth, and purpose of his Leaves of Grass, the volume of verse around which so much controversy has raged. In the opening essay, entitled "A Backward Glance o'er Travel'd Roads," the author discusses this work with candor and at length, explaining the motives that prompted it and the philosophy of life that it attempts to expound. The essay is certainly interesting and throws a great deal of valuable light upon the spirit that pervades the Leaves of Grass, as well as upon its peculiar form. The first quality which the author claims for this body of verse is its suggestiveness, and as regards the lines that have called forth the most criticism, he says "the work must stand or fall with them, as the human body and soul must remain as an entirety." The author's later verse makes the second division of the book, and is gathered under the title, "Sands at Seventy." The latter half of the book consists of papers of varying length on literary, personal, and other themes, much of it vigorous in expression and full of suggestiveness. A portrait of the author taken from life in his seventieth year is the frontispiece of the book, and is reproduced on the opposite page. [David Mackay, Philadelphia, 8vo, $1.25.]


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