This book investigates four of the areas he found most fertile for his own poetic development.
Moving through Whitman's career four times from four different perspectives, this 1994 book investigates several major American cultural developments that occurred during Whitman's lifetime, the development of American dictionaries, the growth of baseball, the evolution of American Indian policy: the development of photography became essential components of Whitman's innovative poetics. Resisting the usual critical temptation to present a totalised, one-dimensional Whitman, this study views him instead as multiple and contradictory, a gatherer of discordant tones and clashing approaches from a variety of surprising cultural arenas. In such cultural activities, Whitman found not his poetic subject so much as his poetic tools and techniques. These cultural actions taught him how to make native representations.
Table of Contents
Preface: Walt Whitman and ...
Introduction: 'Wording the future'
1. Whitman and dictionaries
2. Whitman and baseball
3. Whitman and American Indians
4. Whitman and photography
5. Whitman and photographs of the self.