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About this Item

Title: Broadway

Creator: Susan Belasco

Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.

Whitman Archive ID: per.00157

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Susan Belasco, and Kevin McMullen


In 1868, the first British edition of Whitman's work, Poems of Walt Whitman edited by William M. Rossetti, was published in London. In that same year, Robert Buchanan, a British poet and critic, published an enthusiastic review of the 1867 edition of Leaves of Grass in the new London-based Broadway magazine, "miscellany of original literature in poetry and prose." While the magazine published mostly British writers, popular American writers were also included, such as Mark Twain, Alice and Phoebe Cary, R.H. Stoddard, and Moncure Conway. Whitman was invited by the editor of the Broadway to contribute a poem to the magazine in the midst of publicity about the British edition and Buchanan's positive review. In response, Whitman sent five numbered poems under the title, "Whispers of Heavenly Death," poems that would eventually become a part of a larger cluster that Whitman developed for Passage to India (1871). Whitman noted that he received $50.00 in payment for the poems, although he was hoping for $120.00. Eager for a British audience, Whitman may have hoped to publish additional poems in the Broadway, but the magazine ceased publication in 1872.

Bibliography

Blodgett, Harold. Walt Whitman in England. New York: Russell and Russell, 1934; reissued 1973.

Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.

Myerson, Joel. Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition. Edited by Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley. New York: New York University Press, 1965.

Poems

"Whispers of Heavenly Death." The Broadway, A London Magazine, 10 October 1868, 21-22


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