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1. “All About a Mocking-Bird” appeared in the New York Saturday Press on January 7, 1860. See Walt Whitman: The Contemporary Reviews, ed. Kenneth M. Price (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp. 74–76. The Saturday Press was edited by Whitman's friend Henry Clapp. [BACK]

2. As early as December 28, 1859, the Cincinnati Daily Commercial had lambasted “A Child's Reminiscence” in a sneering review beginning, “The author of Leaves of Grass has perpetrated another ‘poem.’” See Contemporary Reviews, pp. 71–73. [BACK]

3. Before Thayer and Eldridge went bankrupt during the winter of 1860–61, they printed an edition of about a thousand copies. Whitman's book enjoyed a steady but modest sale, though not of course “going off in a rocket way, (like

‘Uncle Tom's Cabin’)” (Corr 1:52). Subsequently, Charles Eldridge continued to interest himself in Whitman as poet and person, helping him get to Fredericksburg, Virginia, to see his wounded brother George in December 1862, and then to find work as a copyist in the Army Paymaster's Office, where Eldridge was also employed. Eldridge formed part of the social and intellectual Washington circle loosely organized by William Douglas O'Connor and his wife Nellie, which supported Whitman emotionally and in certain respects materially in 1863, easing his transition out of Brooklyn and making it possible for Whitman to pursue his career as a freelance journalist, poet, and minor government functionary. [BACK]

4. See Sigmund Freud, “Family Romances” (1908), Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans. James Strachey, 24 vols. (London: Hogarth, 1975), 9:235–41. Other usages may be found in “Fliess Paper” (1902), “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality” (1905), “A Special Type of Choice of Object Made by Men” (1910), and “Moses and Monotheism” (1937). [BACK]

5. The poem, after all, was published a mere twenty-two days after the abolitionist martyr John Brown was executed at Charleston, (West) Virginia. On his way to the scaffold, Brown had prophesied that “the crimes of this guilty, land: will never be purged away; but with Blood.” See Stephen B. Oates, To Purge This Land with Blood: A Biography of John Brown (New York: Harper & Row, 1970), p. 351. See also Whitman's rendition of this scene in “Year of Meteors” (LG, p. 238), in which he describes himself as standing by with clenched teeth. Whitman, as we have seen, was not wholly averse to the use of physical or psychological force. Mainly, however, he sought to “bind in words” (LG, p. 238), preferring unities bloodlessly achieved. For all his conflation of language and body, Whitman knew and respected the difference. [BACK]

6. Whitman drew on the phrenological term “adhesiveness” to amplify the male friendship tradition he inherited from the fathers of the American Revolution. On the derivation and queering of this term, see, for example, Michael Lynch, “‘Here Is Adhesiveness’: From Friendship to Homosexuality,” Victorian Studies 29 (autumn 1985): 67–96. See also Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Toward the Twentieth Century: English Readers of Whitman,” in Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), p. 204 and passim. [BACK]

7. An exception here was the New York Times, which called the Enfans d'Adam section “humanitary.” See Contemporary Reviews, p. 83. [BACK]

8. Accounting for Whitman's more positive reception in England, Sedgwick speculates that “the sexual-ideological packages sent by the Kosmic American were very different from the ones unpacked” by “cosmopolitan” Englishmen. “The most important differences lay in the assumed class contexts in which the sexual ideology was viewed, and in the standing of women—both of ‘femininity’ and of actual women—in the two visions. These very differences made for Whitman's adaptability as an English (far more than as an American) prophet of sexual politics for the nineteenth century.” Sedgwick further emphasizes Whitman's iconic status as a working-class figure and suggests that he embodied “contradictory and seductive attributes that would not have been combined in an Englishman.” See Between Men, p. 204. [BACK]


9. This wonderful language, quoted in Corr 1:4, is taken from an 1867 letter Whitman prepared for William Douglas O'Connor to send to William Michael Rossetti, who was preparing judiciously chosen selections of Leaves of Grass for the English market. Rossetti was at work on the Introduction and Whitman was prepared to help him out. [BACK]

10. Hector Tyndale seems to have dropped out of Whitman's immediate sphere of interest by May 1860, when he visited Louisa Whitman and complained that Walt was not answering his letters. During the Washington years, Whitman mentions him as a repeat visitor in 1866 (Corr 1:279). Whitman also visited him in Philadelphia in 1876, but was displeased with his tone of “settled morbidity” and “ennui” (Corr 3:25, 26). Tyndale had been seriously wounded during the war. Sarah Tyndale, Hector's mother, was an abolitionist friend of Abby Price's. She died not long before Hector's visit to Brooklyn in 1860. [BACK]

11. So far as we can tell, Whitman refused to heed Emerson's advice, which has been variously described. See Prose Writings of Walt Whitman, ed. Floyd Stovall (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 1:281–82 and 2:494, and WWWC 3:439. Jerome Loving indicates that Emerson wanted Whitman to remove the sequence as a whole, rather than to modify or eliminate selected parts. See Loving, Emerson, Whitman, and the American Muse (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1982), pp. 105–108. M. Jimmie Killingsworth notes that since Emerson himself kept no record of the meeting, “we cannot definitely know which poems he suggested Whitman drop” from the 1860 volume. See Whitman's Poetry of the Body: Sexuality, Politics, and the Text (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), p. 68. Killingsworth suggests that “A Woman Waits for Me” (first published in 1856 as “Poem of Procreation”) was viewed by Emerson and his circle as particularly offensive. More generally, the subject of Whitman's revisions as a form of self-censorship in response to actual and anticipated public criticism, both in 1860 and subsequently, needs further work. Jeff Whitman, writing to his brother in 1860, views the actual attacks of the “Yam” writers as an opportunity for family fun, noting, “I dont suppose you will mind it any more than you did in the days of your editorship of the B[rooklyn] Eagle when the Advertiser['s] Lees used to go at you so roughly.” I am less sure that Walt shared Jeff's enthusiasm for such “jolly times.” See Dear Brother Walt: The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Whitman, ed. Dennis Berthold and Kenneth Price (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1984), p. 15. [BACK]

12. There is also a syntactically less obvious reading of these lines in which Whitman is Eve: “Eve following” functions as an appositive and modifies “me,” while the phrase “her just the same” emphasizes a common bond, if not a degendering. [BACK]

13. In 1856, the untitled poem later called “Great Are the Myths” had been revised and given the more modest title “Poem of a Few Greatnesses.” It appeared in the 1856 volume immediately before “I Sing the Body Electric,” with its uncanny interest in “defil[ing] the dead,” and after the new “Broad-Axe Poem,” in which the self and its language are figured as weapons. The closural force of allusions to death obviously appealed to Whitman, as did unifying and psychologically evasive allusions to immortality. The 1856 Leaves of Grass ends

with a “Burial Poem” that brings together both of these tropes. (The poem had been untitled in 1855 and was later called “To Think of Time.”) On the closural force of allusions to death, see Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Poetic Closure: A Study of How Poems End (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968). [BACK]

14. I don't mean to suggest, however, that Whitman is always optimistic about language. In “Burial Poem,” for example, “Slow-moving and black lines creep over the whole earth—they never cease—they are the burial lines,” and they may be read as the lines of text moving across Whitman's pages (LG 1856, p. 334, partially repeated on p. 339). These quotations prefigure the funeral-train scene in “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd,” but even in 1856, Whitman was reminding readers, “He that was President was buried, and he that is now President shall surely be buried.” [BACK]

15. Kerry C. Larson describes “the empowering of a compulsive eros” in Whitman's Drama of Consensus (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 160, 157, 159. [BACK]

16. Here I disagree with James E. Miller, Jr., who argued in A Critical Guide to “Leaves of Grass” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957) that “although [Emory] Holloway's discovery [of the original manuscript] may be biographically revealing, the poem has the ‘meaning,’ surely, of its final version” (p. 50 n). I have never been able to warm up to “I Sing the Body Electric” (LG 1860, pp. 291–302), which in 1860 had not yet acquired its memorable first line. The poem, the longest in the sequence, seems to me ethically admirable in its concern for racial and sexual justice, but also hysterical in its attack on fools who corrupt their own live bodies, pretentious in its feminism, and overall somewhat inert. Predictably, Section 3, a self-contained lyric vignette beginning “I knew a man, a common farmer, the father of five sons” (LG, p. 95) appeals to me as the poem's emotional center. Following this personal and intimate scene, with its unmistakable note of (white) male-male longing, Whitman backs away into a sea of generalities, attempting to constitute a new religion of the variegated body as the basis for American democracy. The poem demonstrates the difficulty of doing so, since the exemplary but also indignant speaker, who delights in taking others apart, is out of touch with his own social aggression. I find the suspension of this aggression in Section 3 refreshing, but it is not clear how this nostalgic lyric episode contains or is related to all the rest. Betsy Erkkila, for example, praises the poem as an “ominous political prophecy” without mentioning this scene. See Whitman the Political Poet (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), p. 125. [BACK]

17. For a facsimile of the heavily revised manuscript, see Fredson Bowers, Whitman's Manuscripts: “Leaves of Grass” (1860), A Parallel Text (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955), p. v. For versions of the text that differ slightly in matters of punctuation, see Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman (1955; reprint, New York: New York University Press, 1967), p. 252; Bowers, p. 64; and Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman: A Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980), p. 142. For a discussion of the politics of Holloway's discovery, see Robert K. Martin, The Homosexual Tradition in American Poetry (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979), p. 4. He notes that though Holloway discovered the manuscript in 1920, by 1926 he was citing “the

revised version to prove Whitman's heterosexuality.” I consider both the manuscript and the versions printed by Whitman as part of a single metastory. [BACK]

18. Emory Holloway, “Walt Whitman's Love Affairs,” The Dial (November 1920), 473–483. Luce Irigaray celebrates the inherent autoeroticism of woman's sexuality, “two lips which embrace continually,” in “This Sex Which Is Not One” [“Ce sexe qui n'en est pas un”], in New French Feminisms, ed. Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron (New York: Schocken Books, 1981), pp. 99–106. According to Irigaray, woman's sexual pleasure disrupts the dominant, single-mindedly instrumental phallic economy. “Thus, for example, woman's autoeroticism is very different from man's. He needs an instrument in order to touch himself: his hand, woman's genitals, language,” whereas the biologically gifted woman, who “‘touches herself’” constantly without anyone being able to forbid her to do so” (p. 100), is inherently self-stimulating. Evidently Whitman's woman is constructed as a socially and emotionally dependent figure. For female autoeroticism in Whitman, see “Spontaneous Me,” in Enfans d'Adam, LG 1860, p. 306. [BACK]

19. The word “youth” appears in the Bowers facsimile, though it is crossed out, at the point where the language “rude and ignorant” is inserted above the line. On the legend of Whitman's encounter with a New Orleans woman of “higher social rank,” see also Henry Bryan Binns, A Life of Walt Whitman (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1905), chapter 4, “Romance (1848),” p. 51, as well as “Appendix B,” pp. 349–50. [BACK]

20. Martin, Homosexual Tradition, p. 5. He emphasizes the poet's “joy at sexual experiences with other men,” whereas I hear a more self-conscious (in the sense of conflicted) voice. [BACK]

21. We've already seen a live oak with moss in Calamus 4, “These I Singing in Spring,” in which the speaker takes out of his pocket “some moss which I pulled off a live-oak in Florida, as it hung trailing down” (LG 1860, p. 348). This poem first introduces the figure of the calamus root. [BACK]

22. Whitman was fond of the figure of glistening and used it memorably. In addition to the swimmers in Section 11 of “Song of Myself,” their beards glistening with wet, he immortalized the “glistening yellow” that partially lights the bodies of the oscillating sea-gulls in “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” as well as “the scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the frolicsome crests and glistening” (LG 1860, pp. 381, 382). See also the effective conjunction of glistening waters and rustling leaves in “To a Common Prostitute,”LG 1860, p. 399. [BACK]

23. But what are we to think of the Whitman who seemingly genders intelligence in “I Sing the Body Electric”? Although he writes that “The female contains all qualities, and tempers them—she is in her place, and moves with perfect balance,” he specifically identifies knowledge with men, knowledge that enables the male with his gender-specific qualifies of “action and power” to bring “everything to the test of himself, / Whatever the survey, whatever the sea and the sail, he strikes soundings at last only here, / Where else does he strike soundings, except here?” (LG 1860, pp. 296, 297). I consider Whitman's construction of maternity at length in chapter 7, and in earlier chapters we have noted that Whitman often described his personal mother not only as his father's intellectual equal but as his father's superior. [BACK]


24. Whitman's poetry rarely ascribes color to eyes. But see the heroic general in Drum-Taps: “(Old as he was, his gray eyes yet shone out in battle like stars)” (LG, p. 316). For more on eyes in Calamus, see below. And see also his description of himself on Broadway in August 1856, in which he features “singular eyes, of a semi-transparent, indistinct light blue.” From New York Dissected: A Sheaf of Recently Discovered Newspaper Articles by the Author of “Leaves of Grass,” ed. Emory Holloway and Ralph Adimari (New York: Rufus Rockwell Wilson, 1936), p. 130. [BACK]

25. The genre of the antebellum Northern secession poem was not unique to Whitman. See Dickinson's “I'm ceded—I've stopped being Their's” and “I'm Nobody! Who are you” for interesting analogues, in The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955), 2:389–90, 1:206–7. For fuller publication history and a different textual transcription, see also The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition, ed. R. W. Franklin, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), 1:279–80, 377–78. [BACK]

26. According to Phyllis Grosskurth, “Symonds sat transfixed. Here was the voice of his own heart, speaking of things he dared not say aloud. Here was a voice celebrating the beauty of a love which he could not confess.” See The Woeful Victorian: A Biography of John Addington Symonds (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965), p. 120. Like Symonds, Myers was a poet and at that time a classical lecturer at Trinity College. Yet Symonds and Myers never physically consummated their loving friendship, and according to Grosskurth, Symonds envied Myers's ability to find sexual pleasure with women, while he himself languished in what he described in his Memoirs as an emotionally companionate, yet sexually passionless marriage. See Grosskurth, “Introduction,” in The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds (New York: Random House, 1984), pp. 27–28. Some of Symonds's friends and acquaintances, however, took a dimmer view of his marriage and of Catherine North Symonds in particular. Henry James, for example, used the Symonds marriage as the basis for his unsympathetic characterization of the wife in “The Author of Beltraffio.” “Narrow, cold, Calvinistic … a rigid moralist,” he called her, in the notebook entry which forms the germ of the story (quoted in Grosskurth, Woeful Victorian, p. 270). [BACK]

27. Whitman was nothing if not persistent, however, and in describing plans for his tomb to his friend Richard Maurice Bucke, he explained in May 1891, “I have two deceased children (young man & woman—illegitimate of course) that I much desired to bury here with me—but have ab't abandon'd the plan on acc't of angry litigation & fuss generally & disinterment f'm down south” (Corr 5:203). [BACK]

28. John Addington Symonds, “Democratic Art. With Special Reference to Walt Whitman,” in Essays Speculative and Suggestive, 3d ed. (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1907), p. 242. While quoting extensively and sympathetically from Democratic Vistas, Symonds expressed deep reservations about Whitman's “grotesqueness” and “contempt for history.” See also Whitman's formal response, “An Old Man's Rejoinder,” in Walt Whitman: Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, ed. Justin Kaplan (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1982), pp. 1249–52, together with Whitman's informal response to Richard

Maurice Bucke, “I guess there is meat in the vols. but I doubt whether he has gripp'd ‘democratic art’ by the nuts, or L of G. either” (Corr 5:63–64). [BACK]

29. It would be good to know when “Long I Thought” was written. According to Fredson Bowers, it was one of the original cluster of twelve poems called “Live Oak with Moss,” which seems to have come together as a grouping by the late spring of 1859, when Whitman quit his position at the Brooklyn Daily Times. This sequence consisted of the following, as numbered in the 1860 Leaves of Grass: Calamus 14, 20, 11, 23, 8, 32, 10, 9, 34, 43, 36, 42. Bowers suggests that these twelve notebook poems “appear to be highly unified and to make up an artistically complete story of attachment, crisis, and renunciation.” He further notes that “the calamus symbol is nowhere mentioned in these poems.” See Whitman's Manuscripts, pp. lxiv, lxvi, lxvii. There already existed, however, thirteen other poems that became part of the Calamus cluster by the time the book was published. Apparently the idea of the groupings came to Whitman late in the process of composition. Because these thirteen appear on pink paper, Bowers has been able to identify them as having been written by June 20, 1857, when Whitman, in a long letter to his Philadelphia supporter Mrs. Sarah Tyndale, discussed bringing out a third edition and noted that “I have now a hundred poems ready” (Corr 1:44). One of these thirteen early poems (“Calamus taste”) does indeed introduce the symbol later adopted for the expanded, revised, and blended sequence. The original thirteen are as follows: 12 (“Are you the new person”); 13 (“Calamus taste”); 15 (“O Drops of me!”); 16 (“Who is now reading this?”); 17 (“Of him I love day and night”); 21 (“Music always round me”); 22 (“Passing stranger!”); 25 (“The prairie-grass dividing”); 26 (“We two boys together clinging”); 30 (“A promise and gift to California”); 31 (“What ship, puzzled at sea”); 41 (“Among the men and women, the multitude”); 45 (“Full of life”). Apparently the homoerotic portions of “Starting from Paumanok,” the longest new poem of the 1860 Leaves, had also been composed by June 1857.

Whitman had been unemployed during the winter of 1856–57, but financial pressures drove him back to work as editor of the Brooklyn Daily Times. (The country was in the throes of a terrible economic recession, and he was forced to borrow money from James Parton at this time.) When he began editing the Times in June 1857, the last such post he was ever to hold, he apparently put his poetry aside, returning to it in the spring of 1859, shortly before he resigned or lost his position. And so despite his good intentions, as an employee of the Times he was diverted from “The Great Construction of the New Bible … the principal object—the main life work” which in June 1857 he had projected as “Three Hundred & Sixty-five” poems which “ought to be read[y] in 1859.—(June '57)” (NUPM 1:353). [BACK]

30. The role Whitman renounces has been variously understood. Whereas M. Jimmie Killingsworth suggests that Whitman withdraws from “traditional male sexual politics and poetics” rather than from “poetry per se” (Whitman's Poetry of the Body, p. 104), Michael Moon suggests that Whitman considers giving up his career elsewhere in the sequence, that writing male-male desire may be “corrosive” as well as “therapeutic,” and that there is a “partial denigration of [proscribed] desire” in at least some of these poems, as Whitman seeks

to return intense male-homoerotic desire to what Moon calls “the orbit of the political ‘real.’” See Michael Moon,Disseminating Whitman: Revision and Cor-poreality in “Leaves of Grass” (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), pp. 166, 167. An excellent discussion is also offered by Alan Helms, who concentrates on a pattern of transgression and retreat he sees as basic to the se-quence as a whole. Helms further suggests that the “capitol” begins to invade Whitman's bower, while the “‘One who loves me’ (the ostensible subject of the poem) hardly appears.” See “‘Live Oak with Moss,’” in The Continuing Pres-ence of Walt Whitman: The Life After the Life, ed. Robert K. Martin (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1992), p. 189. [BACK]

31. Symonds wrote to Whitman about Calamus 8 on December 9, 1889, as follows. “When I read your Bible, I miss—and I have missed for many years in new editions—the poem which first thrilled me like a trumpet-call to you. It was called: ‘Long I thought that knowledge alone would suffice me.’ Why have you so consistently omitted this in the canon of your works?” Whitman never an-swered his question, though he wrote to Richard Maurice Bucke, “J A Symonds from Switzerland has sent the warmest & (I think sh'd be call'd) the most pas-sionate testimony letter to L of G, & me yet” (Corr 4:408). See The Letters of John Addington Symonds, 3 vols., ed. Herbert M. Schueller and Robert L. Peters (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1969), 3:425. The other two Calamus poems omitted from later editions are 9 (“Hours continuing long, sore and heavy-hearted”) and 16 (“Who is now reading this?”). There appears to be an element of arbitrariness in Whitman's omissions, for other poems are just as hos-tile to the public sphere, just as depressed, and just as self-doubting. Symonds rightly linked Calamus 28 (“When I peruse the conquered fame of heroes”) to Calamus 16 (“Long I Thought”), and it remains unclear why Whitman would remove one poem and not the other, though “Long I Thought” is arguably more emphatic in its antinationalism. Perhaps Whitman's initial elation, as represented by Calamus 8, was followed by the depressions of the later poems, and perhaps all three poems were inspired by the same love affair. If so, then Calamus 9 demonstrates that Whitman has not found his beloved companion in the jealous lover of Calamus 8, and I pursue this psychologically later reading in my text. [BACK]

32. I do not mean to suggest that Whitman's vision of America as a nation of lovers in the Calamus sequence and elsewhere was merely a screen for homo-erotic desire, but rather that recalcitrant elements in the poems can create this effect. For another view of this matter, see Jay Grossman, “‘The Evangel-Poem of Comrades and of Love’: Revising Whitman's Republicanism,” ATQ 4 (Sep-tember 1990): 201–18. Grossman writes that in the antebellum period Whit-man was “deeply committed to resolving the crisis of the republic, even and es-pecially when he appears to us to be ‘only’ profoundly sexual” (p. 215). [BACK]

33. Elizabeth Bishop, “One Art,” in The Complete Poems 1927–1979 (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1983), p. 178. Whitman also echoes 1 Corinthians 15:8, “By the grace of God I am what I am,” seeking to humanize its message. On Whitman and St. Paul, see also his August 1890 letter to Bucke, Corr 5:75. [BACK]

34. Whitman altered “bards” to the more neutral “recorders” in 1867 and eliminated the opening reference to himself as the poet who “prophesied of The

States, and led them the way of their glories.” The original language suggests that while most readers will not understand Whitman's pride in loving men, poets may. [BACK]

35. For an analysis of undemocratic social meetings in antebellum American cities, including New York and Brooklyn, see Edward Pessen, Riches, Class, and Power Before the Civil War (Lexington, Mass.: D. C. Heath, 1973), especially chapters 9, “The Streets Where They Lived: The Residential Patterns of the Rich and Elite,” 10, “The Marital Theory and Practice of the Rich and Elite,” and 11, “The Private World and the Social Circle of the Rich and Elite.” Pessen argues that rich people socialized with and married each other, and that their residences were clustered in affluent parts of the city. His analysis of the social posi-tion of writers, on pp. 239–40, suggests how anomalous Whitman's class status truly was. [BACK]

36. Moon, Disseminating Whitman, p. 217. [BACK]

37. Richard Rorty, Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), p. 26. [BACK]

38. Rorty, Achieving Our Country, p. 26. [BACK]

39. We may choose to read the unavowed “it” of “Who is now reading this?” (LG 1860, pp. 361–62) as evidence of further conflict between the homoerotic Whitman and the streets of New York, which threaten to reduce him to an “it” and from which perspective the unending tides of humanity—described in the journalism of, say, the summer of 1856—appear not only unlovely but con-temptible. “A big, heavy, overgrown man, with a face like a raw beef-steak,” he noted, “little piggy eyes, queer, dry, straight, harsh, coarse hair, ‘of a speckled color,’ made up of brownish red and gray, rather dirty clothes, and quite dirty, yellow dogskin gloves. He goes rolling along in an elephantine style, and for fear of being trod on, probably, people get out of the way. That is George Law, who never will be President. Those people, and many more, go about the streets of New York.” See New York Dissected, p. 132. Law, known as “Live Oak George,” was a wealthy investor and aspirant for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 1856. (The live oak was favored in shipbuilding because of its exceptional strength, and Law was a shipping magnate.) The son of a poor Irishman, Law had also acquired a real estate fortune. Perhaps some of Whit-man's special animus against him derives not only from Law's financial success but also from his start as an engineer and contractor, a start close to the Whit-man family trade but with a very different monetary end. On Law, see New York Dissected, pp. 236–37. [BACK]

40. Killingsworth, Whitman's Poetry of the Body, p. 148. In Whitman the Political Poet, Erkkila notes that “Whitman internalized the homophobia of his culture” but that “there is no reason to assume that he deleted Calamus poems nos. 8, 9, and 16 in order to erase their personal homoerotic signature.” She fur-ther suggests that “Whitman's decision to drop three of his more confessional Calamus poems in the 1867 Leaves was probably … motivated by his desire to fuse the poet and the lover in a single national persona who would project the uni-tary figure of a reconstructed self and a reconstructed nation” (pp. 182, 261). As I see it, in the 1860 Leaves of Grass, Whitman was trying both to express and to erase his personal erotic signature. Part of him wanted to fuse the poet and the

lover into a single national persona but part of him knew that he needed to trans-form his personal erotic signature into a less idiosyncratic style. To suggest that his loyalties were divided and his ambitions complex is to understate the case. [BACK]

41. While working for the Interior Department, Whitman left the copy of Leaves of Grass he was revising in his desk. He was suddenly fired on June 30, 1865, by Secretary of the Interior James Harlan and rehired by Attorney Gen-eral J. Hubley Ashton the next day. There are various accounts of this episode, including Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman's Champion: William Douglas O'Con-nor (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1978), pp. 56–65. Loving emphasizes a general move to economize in the Interior Department, but the moral outrage of Harlan, formerly an Iowa Senator, college president, and Meth-odist minister, was genuine. See also the account of this incident in Allen, Soli-tary Singer, pp. 344–350. For a succinct analysis of what happened when Leaves of Grass was banned in Boston and classified as obscene literature, see Allen, pp. 496–500; Erkkila, Whitman the Political Poet, pp. 308–9; Killingsworth, Whitman's Poetry of the Body, pp. 68, 147, 163–64. The short-term effect of the publicity generated by the Boston Attorney General was to boost the sales of the 1881–82 edition, which was later published in Philadelphia by Rees Welsh & Co., rather than by James R. Osgood, one of America's leading (Boston) publishers, as originally planned. [BACK]

42. Killingsworth,Whitman's Poetry of the Body, p. 149. See also Walt Whit-man's Blue Book: The 1860–61 “Leaves of Grass” Containing His Manuscript Additions and Revisions, ed. Arthur Golden, 2 vols. (New York: New York Pub-lic Library, 1968). [BACK]

43. Symonds noted this poem in particular as a confirmation of Whitman's lived homoerotic identity. [BACK]

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