Selected Criticism

Carnegie, Andrew (1835–1919)
Baker, Danielle L. and Donald C. Irving
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

An industrialist and philanthropist, Carnegie gave small sums to subscriptions for Whitman in 1887 and in 1888, reportedly because he felt "triumphant democracy disgraced" upon hearing that British, not Americans, were raising money for the destitute poet (Whitman 85, nl). It is unlikely that the two ever met, but a literary exchange occurred when Carnegie sent his books with a "friendly inscription" and Whitman sent a copy of Leaves of Grass in return (Whitman 146–147).

Some friends criticized Whitman's association with Carnegie because of his exploitation of the working class, but Whitman defended Carnegie's generosity to him (Traubel 254). Reynolds draws several connections between the two, especially their praise of American technology as in Carnegie's Triumphant Democracy (1886) and Whitman's "Song of the Exposition" (1871).


Carnegie, Andrew. Triumphant Democracy. 1886. New York: Doubleday, 1933.

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

Traubel, Horace. With Walt Whitman in Camden. Ed. Sculley Bradley. Vol. 4. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1953.

Wall, Joseph F. Andrew Carnegie. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburgh P, 1989.

Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 4. New York: New York UP, 1969.


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