Book Release: Professor Kenneth M. Price, PhD presents Whitman in Washington: Becoming the National Poet in the Federal City
When: February 25, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST
WWBA is delighted to welcome Professor & Co-Director of Walt Whitman Archive Kenneth M. Price, PhD, for a live Zoom discussion about his newly released book Whitman in Washington: Becoming the National Poet in the Federal City. Join us for an evening discussion exploring the evolution of Whitman’s writing while he worked as a government clerk and journalist, sat by the bedside of thousands of wounded soldiers, and observed the tumultuous effects of the Civil War while he lived in the nation’s capital.
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More about the book and author:
During Walt Whitman’s decade in Washington, DC, 1863–1873, he labored intensely, at times seeming to have three lives at once. He wrote the most distinguished journalism of his career; came into his own as a writer of letters; crafted memorable Civil War poetry, Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps (1865) and later folded it into heavily revised and expanded versions of Leaves of Grass in 1867 and 1871; and produced his searching critique of American culture, Democratic Vistas. Whitman’s work through the first three editions of Leaves (1855, 1856, 1860-61) often receives the highest praise, yet his writing in the Washington years is exceptional, too, by any reckoning—and is all the more remarkable given that he also cared for thousands of wounded and sick soldiers in Washington hospitals, serving as an attentive visitor. In addition, he served as a government clerk in various positions, most notably in the attorney general’s office when much was accomplished on the road toward a multi-racial democracy including efforts to suppress the Ku Klux Klan, and much was also missed (both by the attorney general’s office and by Whitman) in the efforts to advance a more just and vibrant union. This book analyses Whitman’s integrated life, writings, and government work in his urban context to re-evaluate the writer and the nation’s capital in a time of transformation. Drawing on an expanded Whitman corpus (including nearly 3,000 Whitman documents Price recently identified in the National Archives), Whitman in Washington demonstrates that the power of Whitman’s Civil War and Reconstruction writing emerges, more fully than we could ever before have imagined, from his intimate knowledge of the capital city, its bureaucracies, and its tumultuous post-war history.
Kenneth Price received his B.A. from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, and then earned both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago. He is the Hillegass University Professor of Nineteenth-Century American Literature and co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Price is the author of over forty articles and author or editor of eleven books. His most recent book is co-edited with Ray Siemens, Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology (Modern Language Association, 2013). His other recent books include Re-Scripting Walt Whitman: An Introduction to His Life and Work, co-authored with Folsom (Blackwell Publishing, 2005) and To Walt Whitman, America (University of North Carolina Press 2004), a main selection of The Readers Subscription, a national book club. Since 1995, Price has served as co-director of The Walt Whitman Archive an electronic research and teaching tool that sets out to make Whitman’s vast work, for the first time, easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers. The Whitman Archive has been awarded federal grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the U.S. Department of Education, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. In 2005, the Whitman Archive received a “We the People” grant from the NEH to build a permanent endowment to support ongoing editorial work. In 2009, Price received a Digital Innovation Award from American Council of Learned Societies to advance work on editing Whitman’s Civil War writings.
An Evening With WWBA 2021 Poet In Residence Natasha Trethewey
When: Saturday, June, 12, 2020
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