Annotated Bibliography on Whitman and Phrenology 

Picture of a Traveling Phrenologist 
This is a bibliography for articles and sections of books where direct connections are made between Whitman and the science of phrenology.  A brief citation is available for every article I could locate. 
 Allen, Gay Allen.  The New Walt Whitman Handbook.  New York: New York
      University Press, 1986.

    Allen explains how the "harmonious balance" (47) of life presented by the phrenological community inspired Whitman's influence on sound health in "Song of Myself."  Allen also discusses the use of the phrenological term "adhesiveness" in Whitman's "Song of the Open Road."
Aspiz, Harold.  "A Reading of Whitman's 'Faces.'"  Walt Whitman Review 19 (June):

    Aspiz explains how the image of the Whitman poem "Faces" came directly from his study of phrenology and physiognomy.  Aspiz sees the poem as indicative of Whitman's desire to see, as following phrenological doctrines, the development of a perfectly balanced man.

Aspiz, Harold.  "Educating the Kosmos: 'There Was a Child Went Forth."  American
    Quarterly 18 (Winter): 655-66.
    Aspiz show how Whitman used phrenological suggestion for rearing children as the basis for form and content in "There Was a Child Went Forth."

Aspiz, Harold.  "Unfolding the Folds."  Walt Whitman Review 12 (December): 81-87.

    Explains how Whitman's poem "Unfold the Folds" could be read as evidence of Whitman's knowledge of phrenological doctrines.

Aspiz, Harold.  Walt Whitman and the Body Beautiful.  Chicago: University of Illinois
    Press, 1980.

    Aspiz includes an excellent chapter uncovering the history of phrenology, Whitman's exposure to phrenology, and the evidence of its influence in particular poems.  Aspiz claims "phrenology helped Whitman to define personal greatness, the nature of poetry, and the role of the ideal poet." (109).  He begins by explaining the founding of phrenology and the biological theory of phrenology as introduced by Dr. Franz Gall.  Aspiz goes onto explain the contributions of Dr. Spurzheim, George Combe, and Fowler and Wells.  The most detail is given to Fowler and Wells involvement in Whitman's poetry and publishing career.  Aspiz continues by looking at particular poems of Whitman's and uncovering the methods, language, and ideals of phrenology embedded in the text.  Overall, this chapter is the most articulate summary of the ties between Whitman and the theories and supporters of phrenology.

Brasher, Thomas L.  "Whitman's Conversion to Phrenology."  Walt Whitman
    Newsletter  4 (June): 95-97.

    Brasher contains a review written in the Brooklyn Eagle on phrenology in 1846.  Brasher considers this the first evidence in writing of Whitman's involvement in phrenology.

Davies, John D.  Phrenology, Fad, and Science: A 19th Century American Crusade.
    New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. pp.123-25.

    Davies maps how phrenology led Whitman to viewing his life from a scientific standpoint.  The article also summarizes the publications where Whitman presents his readings, and provides possible reasons for these inclusions.

Hungerford, Edward.  "Walt Whitman and His Chart of Bumps."  American
    Literature II (Jan. 1931): 350-84.

Killingsworth, M. Jimmie.  "Whitman and Science." Texas A & M University.

    This paper examines the complex relationship between science and literature as theoretical constructs and how they particularly pertain to Whitman.  Killingsworth sees the competition and interconnectedness which exists between the two, and discusses how cultural demands also leads to the ending of ignorance and stripping away of custom in exchange for truth.

Kummings, Donald D., ed.  Walt Whitman 1940-1975: A Reference Guide.  Boston:
    G.K. Hall & Co, 1982.

    An excellent biographical reference guide on Whitman.  bibliographies are organized by title, author, and subject.  A should citation is given for each item.

Lynch, Michael.  "Here is Adhesiveness: from Friendship to Homosexuality."
     Victorian Studies  29 (1985): 90-91.

    Lynch cites other articles concerning Whitman's study of phrenology and gives a short, concise history of the science of phrenology.

Schmidgall, Gary.  Walt Whitman: A Gay Life. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.,
     1997. pp.190-191.

  Schmidgall discusses how the results of Whitman's 1849 reading can be applied to his sexual orientation and poetry.  The correlation's to his personal life are extreme, but the attention to his writing is interesting.  Schmidgall is attempting to place Whitman in a homosexual lifestyle with examples of how the vocabulary of phrenology allowed Whitman to express his sexuality. His primary example is Whitman's use of the word "adhesiveness" (of which Whitman got 6/7 on his reading on his reading) to denote attraction between men.

Stern, Madeline B.  "Walt Whitman, Care of Fowler and Wells."  in Heads and
    Headlines: The Phrenological Fowlers.  Norman: University of Oklahoma Press,

    An article discussing the history of phrenology with a focus on the publishing company established by Fowler and Wells.  Sterns shows the effect phrenology had on other authors such as Poe and William James and explains the circumstances which led to Whitman's break with Fowler and Wells.

Traubel, Horace, ed.  "Leaves of Grass: A Volume of Poems Just Published."  in Re-
     Walt Whitman. Philadelphia, 1893: 25.

    Traubel provides the text of Whitman's re-print of his phrenological reading from the Brooklyn Times in 1855.

Wallace, James K.  "Whitman and Life Illustrated: A Forgotten 1855 Review of
    Leaves."  Walt Whitman Review Vol. 17 (Dec. 1971): 135-138

    Contains one of the first reviews of Whitman carried by Life Illustrated, published by Fowler and Wells.  Wallace also gives a description of Fowler and Wells' publishing house complete with museum and head-reading business.  Wallace contains this information in a narrative of Fowler and Wells' precarious support of Whitman's work.

Wrobel, Arthur.  "A Poet's Self-Esteem: Whitman Alters His 'Bumps.'"  Walt
    Whitman Review Vol. 17 (Dec. 1971): 129-135.

    Wrobel's unique contribution in this article is to compare Whitman and others' reports of his phrenological reading over time.  Wrobel explains the circumstances of Whitman's first reading, provides evidence that Whitman may have had as many as three readings, and show how Whitman's reports of his reading fulfilled his need to "advertise himself."  It is interesting to note how Whitman manipulated and re-evaluated his readings to fit any particular publication and how all changes were to Whitman's advantage.

Wrobel, Arthur.  "Whitman and the Phrenologists: the Divine Body and Sensuous
    Soul." PMLA 89 (Jan. 1974): 17-23.
    Worbel illustrates how phrenological doctrines confirmed the ideas of transcendentalism in Whitman's ideology.

Wrobel, Arthur.  "Walt Whitman and the Fowler Brothers: Phrenology Finds a Bard."
    Ph.D. dissertation, University of North Carolina.

    Worbel's dissertation is a summary of the language and ideas Whitman borrowed from phrenology.

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