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a schoolmaster

  • Whitman Archive Title: a schoolmaster
  • Whitman Archive ID: loc.04588
  • Repository: Catalog of the Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts in The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Library of Congress
  • Box: 2
  • Folder: Notebooks c. 1852?
  • Series: Notebooks
  • Date: Before or early in 1852
  • Genre: poetry, prose
  • Physical Description: 11 leaves, handwritten; print
  • View Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22
  • Content: The plot described in this notebook corresponds to Whitman's novel Life and Adventures of Jack Engle: An Auto-Biography , published serially in the New York Sunday Dispatch from March 14 to April 18, 1852. Two Tribune clippings pasted onto one of the pages of this notebook also are dated 1852. The writing in the notebook therefore probably dates to before or early in 1852. The name of the character "Covert" also appears in Whitman's story "Revenge and Requital; A Tale of a Murderer Escaped," first published in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review in July–August 1845, although the plot of that story bears only minor resemblance to the plot of Jack Engle . Covert, a villainous lawyer in both tales, may have been based on a man from Whitman's own experience. For more about this connection and the composition and publication of Jack Engle , see Zachary Turpin, "Introduction to Walt Whitman's 'Life and Adventures of Jack Engle,'" Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 34 (2017), 225–261. Whitman also copied two excerpts of poetry in this notebook (surface 19). The first poetic quotation comes from Robert Blair's poem "The Grave" (1743). The source of the second quotation is unknown. The note on the verso of what is represented here as the last page of this notebook is upside down, suggesting that Whitman may have begun writing from one direction in this notebook, then flipped it over and started writing in the other direction. The cover of the notebook is labeled "Note Book Walt Whitman 82" in a hand that is not Whitman's.

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