Published Works


About this Item

Title: The Atlantic Monthly

Creator: Susan Belasco

Whitman Archive ID: per.00040

Source: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the periodical poems, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Leslie Ianno, Susan Belasco, and Kevin McMullen

Eager for publication in the culturally important Atlantic Monthly, which had begun publication in 1857, Whitman sent editor James Russell Lowell his poem "Bardic Symbols." Lowell, the first editor of the magazine, served from November 1857 until June 1861, and was interested in promoting the work of both established and lesser known American writers. But his bias was for New England writers and Whitman was not among those whose works were routinely solicited. In addition, Lowell was gaining a reputation for taking editorial liberties with manuscripts. Nonetheless, he did publish the poem; however, he apparently found two lines in the fourth stanza suggestive of suicide and deleted them. Pleased to be included in the prestigious Atlantic, Whitman nonetheless restored the lines when he published the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass.


Myerson, Joel. Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993.

Sedgwick, Ellery. "The Atlantic Monthly." In American Literary Magazines: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, edited by Edward E. Chielens. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986.

Smith, Susan Belasco. "The Atlantic Monthly." In Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, edited by J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings. New York: Garland Publishing, 1998.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition. Edited by Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley. New York: New York University Press, 1965.


"Bardic Symbols." Atlantic Monthly, April 1860, 445-447

"Proud Music of the Sea-Storm." Atlantic Monthly, February 1869, 199-203


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