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Night on the Prairies

  • Whitman Archive Title: Night on the Prairies
  • Whitman Archive ID: uva.00203
  • Repository: Catalog of the Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts at the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia
  • Folder: 50-51
  • Date: 1857-1859
  • Genre: poetry
  • Physical Description: 3 leaves, 20 x 13 cm, handwritten
  • View Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
  • Content: Whitman cut off and flipped over the top section of the first leaf, gluing it to the rest of the leaf, in order to transform the original first line into the title. (The current verso of the top section still bears, undeleted, the first line "Night on the prairies[,]" along with the title "Leaf.—" and the number 73, originally 72). Whitman deleted the pencil numbers 16, 17, and 18 in the lower-left corner of the leaves, substituting the numbers 1 through 3. This poem became section 15 of the cluster "Leaves of Grass" in 1860. In 1867 Whitman restored the title "Night on the Prairies" and revised the poem, transferring it to the "Leaves of Grass" group. After other repositionings it achieved its current place in the cluster "Whispers of Heavenly Death" in 1881.

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