Contemporary Reviews

About this Item

Title: [Review of Specimen Days and Collect]

Creator: unknown [unsigned in original]

Date: January 6, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: anc.00231

Source: The American 6 January 1883: 203. The electronic text for this file was prepared by Whitman Archive staff and affiliates, who transcribed the text from a representation of the original (e.g., photocopy, digital scan or other electronic reproduction, microfilm copy). The electronic text was originally prepared in Microsoft Word for submission to the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. The transcription was then exported from Microsoft Word as plain text and encoded for publication on the Whitman Archive. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the reviews, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Natalie O'Neal, Elizabeth Lorang, and Vanessa Steinroetter

MANY persons, no doubt, will entertain the opinion, after reading Walt Whitman's "Specimen Days and Collect" (Philadelphia: Rees, Welsh & Co.), that his prose is more poetical than much of his poetry. Into this volume he has gathered fragments of writing, some of which were produced as long ago as 1860, and all of which are illustrative of his thoughts and his experiences in the woods and the city, in the camp and the hospital, in his home and in his journeyings. Mr. Whitman was employed in Washington during the entire period of Rebellion, and the most entertaining passages in the volume are those in which he draws pictures of the events of that time of excitement and anguish. No doubt, the effect of these upon him who reads them will be to create a warmer feeling of regard for the man who wrote them, and to soften any severe judgment that has been passed upon him as the author of less satisfactory compositions. It will be perceived, also, that Whitman herein shows himself to be truly a man of force and originality, who not only sees things clearly, but possesses the skill to express, with precision, thoughts which other men find it difficult to formulate. We are confident that the volume will find favor with thoughtful readers.


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