Commentary

Disciples

This section of the Whitman Archive presents material by and about the circle of devotees who gathered around Whitman in the latter part of his life. The early Whitman biographer Bliss Perry called these individuals the "hot little prophets," underlining their sometime over-zealous commitment to Whitman and his literary projects. We use the term disciples to note both the extraordinary support they gave Whitman and the religious significance they saw in his writings. This new and growing section of the Archive initially focused on the four individuals who were most extensively involved in aiding Whitman's career and shaping his reputation: Richard Maurice Bucke, John Burroughs, William Douglas O'Connor, and Horace Traubel. Each produced collaborative work with Whitman, and taken together they can shed light on Whitman's co-authored work, which has received scant attention. More recently, we have also added Anne Gilchrist, a close friend and correspondent of the poet in his later years. As time allows, other figures (such as William Sloane Kennedy) may be included.


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