Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington
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Except that one cruel April day Lincoln was no longer alive. The commander in chief was the final, most bitterly mourned casualty of the Civil War. He died the ultimate good death, laying down his life to become martyr and legend all at once the moment the giant stopped breathing on April 15, , seven hours after a single shot was fired in the back of his head. The war was won days earlier, but the Northern part of the nation was heartbroken on every funeral train stop back to Springfield.
It was as if all the sorrow and weeping of the war was now met in this one man. Whitman, too, was moved to speak, to sing on the page as he never had before. But he breaks from the first person and broadens the long poem to give it an extraordinary inclusiveness, making the consciousness a collective, grieving nation.
Lilacs, luscious spring flowers, become an inescapable reminder of loss. The poem is almost like a wailing wall for a republic that had never seen such suffering before. Sources: David S. Jamie Stiehm is a columnist for Creators Syndicate, covering history, politics and culture. In this radiant book, poet and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein tracks the par Kindred spirits despite their profound differences in position, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman shared a vision of the democratic character.
In this radiant book, poet and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein tracks the parallel lives of these two titans from the day that Lincoln first read Leaves of Grass to the elegy Whitman composed after Lincoln's assassination in Drawing on a rich trove of personal and newspaper accounts and diary records, Epstein shows how the influence and reverence flowed between these two men-and brings to life the many friends and contacts they shared. Epstein has written a masterful portrait of two great American figures and the era they shaped through words and deeds. Get A Copy.
Paperback , pages. Published January 11th by Random House Trade first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 4. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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Review of Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington by Daniel Mark Epstein
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Jan 19, Fred Klein rated it liked it. Interesting parallel biography of Lincoln and Whitman. They don't actually meet, but influence each other. I'm more into history than poetry, and there is some discussion of Whitman's poetry and some passages from his poems.
Add a star if you like both history and poetry, and then add another star if you like Whitman's poetry in particular. Much to my regret, this book felt rather unsatisfying. It tries to be a dual biography of Lincoln and Whitman, president and poet, and meanwhile connecting the two lives.
Whitman in Washington
Its subtitle is "parallel lives in Washington," and right out of the gate it missed the mark for me. Lincoln, we learn, had a copy of Whitman's Leaves of Grass in the office, and often read in it. Epstein then suggests that Whitman inspired some of Lincoln's writing, which he tries to substantiate with unconvincing quotations.
The Civil War brought both men to Washington, DC, where they did not actually meet, but they glanced at one another when Whitman stood on a corner as Lincoln's barouche passed on its way from the White House to the Soldier's Home, north of the city. Their separate lives are elaborated on in alternate chapters. The epilogue, then, is about a speech Whitman held about Lincoln, in April of , on the 22nd anniversary of the assassination.
It was moving, Epstein writes, and the crowd was filled with well-known authors, general William Tecumseh Sherman, and John Hay. All in all, this was an odd volume, for it was neither fully about "lives in Washington," nor about Whitman or Lincoln. It was too little of too much to me. Jun 29, Paul rated it really liked it. Despite the implied conceit of the title, the two men apparently never met. However, Epstein makes a good case that both men were definitely aware of each other, and possibly influenced each other's respective lives Lincoln influencing Whitman much more, however.
An interesting account of several years of two of the 19th century's towering figures, and how the Civil War affected both men. Sep 25, James Dalessandro rated it really liked it. At the top of my list would have to be America's greatest statesman, Abraham Lincoln and its towering literary figure, Walt Whitman. How did I not know that poem was about Lincoln? You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.
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LINCOLN AND WHITMAN by Daniel Mark Epstein | Kirkus Reviews
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My mom loves Walt Whitman, but it is hard for me to get into poetry. I feel uncivilized. Julie Read Handed says:.
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