In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: What shall the great poet

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1850s

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00303

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Based on the handwriting, Edward Grier posits that this manuscript dates to the 1850s (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 4:1560). It may have contributed to a passage in the prose preface to the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass in which Whitman writes that the "swarms of the polished deprecating and reflectors and the polite float off and leave no remembrance" (xii).

Contributors to digital file: Robert LaCosse, Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney

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What shall the great poet be then? Shall he be a timid apologetic person, deprecating himself, guarding off the effects he won

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