Walt Whitman

WHITMAN, Walter (‘Walt’). b. Huntington, Long Island, New York, 31 May 1819; d. Camden, New Jersey, 26 March 1892. Although christened Walter, he was known as ‘Walt’ from childhood onwards to distinguish him from his father, Walter Whitman Sr. The family life was unsettled, particularly after moving to Brooklyn in 1823, and Walt left school aged 11. He worked at a series of jobs in New York as an office boy, shop assistant, compositor, and type-setter. He later worked as a teacher and journalist, and began to write poetry, publishing Leaves of Grass in 1855: it was admired by many, including Ralph Waldo Emerson* (‘I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful Leaves of Grass. I find it to be...

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