Selected Criticism

Putnam's Monthly
Pannapacker, William A.
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 by George Palmer Putnam and Company in January 1853, Putnam's Monthly Magazine was one of the most prestigious nineteenth-century literary periodicals. It continued under the editorship of Charles Briggs until September 1857, when it merged with Emerson's United States Magazine to form Emerson's Magazine and Putnam's Monthly. With Briggs as editor, it reemerged in January 1868, as Putnam's Magazine: Original Papers on Literature, Science, Art, and National Literature and continued until November 1870.

Putnam's Monthly published one of the first reviews of Leaves of Grass (1855); in September 1855 Charles Eliot Norton called Leaves "a mixture of Yankee transcendentalism and New York rowdyism," and found it "preposterous yet somehow fascinating" (25). In January 1868 Putnam's new series contained an effort by William D. O'Connor, author of The Good Gray Poet (1866), to mythologize Whitman. O'Connor's story, "The Carpenter," presents Whitman as a modern Christ, able to perform miracles and heal people with his personal magnetism.


Loving, Jerome. Walt Whitman's Champion: William Douglas O'Connor. College Station: Texas A&M UP, 1978.

Norton, Charles Eliot. "Charles Eliot Norton's Review 1855." Walt Whitman: The Critical Heritage. Ed. Milton Hindus. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971. 24–28.

Mott, Frank Luther. "Putnam's Monthly Magazine." A History of American Magazines, 1850–1865. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1938. 419–431.


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