Selected Criticism

American Whig Review
Rachman, Stephen
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

When Whitman contributed his early story "The Boy Lover" in May 1845, this New York monthly was called The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art and Science (1845–1847). The Review was the organ of the embattled Whig party until both party and magazine collapsed after the presidential election of 1852. George H. Colton edited the Review in the hopes of selling a profitable mixture of politics and literature which would rival the Democratic Review. The magazine gained immediate notice by publishing Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" in its February 1845 number. In light of Whitman's previous associations with the Democratic Review and his anti-Whig campaigning, the publication of his slight tale and a few other pieces, as Perry Miller observed, gives some indication of Colton's willingness to print the writings of those Democrats who conformed to his conservative style. It also indicates the wide political and literary range of Walt Whitman's search for a literary identity in the 1840s. Whitman continued to read the Review through the 1850s, clipping articles on literature which interested him.


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

Miller, Perry. The Raven and the Whale: The War of Words and Wits in the Era of Poe and Melville. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956.

Mott, Frank Luther. A History of American Magazines, 1741–1850. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1939.

Reynolds, David S. Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Whitman, Walt. The Early Poems and the Fiction. Ed. Thomas L. Brasher. New York: New York UP, 1963.


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