Published Works


About this Item

Title: Whipping

Creator: Walt Whitman [unsigned in original]

Date: April 1, 1842

Whitman Archive ID: per.00453

Source: New York Aurora 1 April 1842: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. Original issue held at the Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, NJ. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the journalism, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This piece is unsigned. However, Whitman was the editor of the Aurora when this editorial was written, and Herbert Bergman identified him as its author in Walt Whitman, The Journalism. Volume I: 1834–1846 (New York: Peter Lang, 1998). The Whitman Archive editors agree that the style and content of the piece are consistent with other known Whitman writings of this period.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Ashland and Kevin McMullen

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Coporael punishment never produces any good effects. Solomon's axiom "Spare the rod and spoil the child," if meant to be taken literally, (as is questionable) is a false, sanguinary principle, that ought to be scouted by every man of sense.1


1. This was not the first time Whitman had written on the misguidedness of corporal punishment. His first known published short story, "Death in the School-Room. A Fact" tells the story of a teacher prone to beating his students as a form of punishment. It ends when the teacher beats a boy he thinks is sleeping, only to discover that the boy was actually dead and the teacher "had been flogging A CORPSE." The tale was first published in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review in August 1841. [back]


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