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A Pleasant Quiz

"A Pleasant Quiz"

Under the title "Walt Whitman and his Poems," the United States Review recently published the following article. We take it to be a smart satire upon the present tendency of authors to run into rhapsody and transcendentalism; and therefore its main fault in a literary point of view—that it suggests the notice of a man reviewing his own work—is not of much importance.1


1. This introductory paragraph is followed by a reprint of one of Whitman's own reviews of the 1855 Leaves of Grass. Whitman's review, "Walt Whitman and His Poems," was first published in the United States Review in September, 1855. Strictly speaking, then, the excerpt from "A Pleasant Quiz" given above is not a review itself, but rather a comment on a previous review. We reproduce the comment here because of the light it sheds on Whitman's contemporary reception and on his practice of reviewing himself. The poet's self-reviewing was detected right from the start, possibly as he himself wanted it to be. [back]

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