Selected Criticism

Harper's Monthly
Newstrom, Scott L.
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

Founded in New York in 1850 as Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Harper's Monthly initially published mostly British literature. It was much more widely circulated than the Atlantic, and in the late nineteenth century increasingly drew from American writers. Whitman published six poems in the periodical: "Song of the Redwood-Tree" (February 1874); "Prayer of Columbus" (March 1874); "Patroling Barnegat" (April 1881); "With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea!" (March 1884); "Of That Blithe Throat of Thine" (January 1885); and the posthumous "Death's Valley" (April 1892). In his later years Whitman believed, incorrectly, that Harper's had a standing editorial order to reject his poems. From comments by George Curtis on Drum-Taps to William Dean Howells's editorial on November Boughs, the magazine, on the whole, reviewed Whitman favorably (the exception being Henry Alden's criticism of Leaves of Grass as "a congeries of bizarre rhapsodies" (January 1882). Other notable Harper's articles include Curtis's contemplation on the future of Whitman's literary reputation "one hundred years from now" (July 1890) and Howells's reminiscence of meeting Whitman at Pfaff's (June 1895).


Baker, Portia. "Walt Whitman's Relations with Some New York Magazines." American Literature 7 (1935): 274–301.

Giantvalley, Scott. "Additional Whitman Allusions in Harper's Monthly." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 5.3 (1988) 40–41.

Wells, Daniel A. "Whitman Allusions in Harper's Monthly: An Annotated List of Citations." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 4.1 (1986): 16–23.

Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 3. New York: New York UP, 1964; Vol. 4. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York UP, 1969.


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