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Specimen Days & Collect Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; Dover ed edition (August 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 048628641X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486286419
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #353,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

One of America's most influential and innovative poets, Walt Whitman (1819–92) worked as a teacher, journalist, and volunteer nurse during the Civil War. Proclaimed as the nation's first "poet of democracy," Whitman reached out to common readers and opposed censorship with his overt celebrations of sexuality

More About the Author

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, near Huntington, Long Island, New York. On July 4, 1855, the first edition of Leaves of Grass, the volume of poems that for the next four decades would become his lifes work, was placed on sale. Although some critics treated the volume as a joke and others were outraged by its unprecedented mixture of mysticism and earthiness, the book attracted the attention of some of the finest literary intelligences. His poetry slowly achieved a wide readership in America and in England, where he was praised by Swinburne and Tennyson. (D. H. Lawrence later referred to Whitman as the"greatest modern poet, and"the greatest of Americans. Whitman suffered a stroke in 1873 and was forced to retire to Camden, New Jersey, where he would spend the last twenty years of his life. There he continued to write poetry, and in 1881 the seventh edition of Leaves of Grass was published to generally favorable reviews. However, the book was soon banned in Boston on the grounds that it was obscene literature. In January 1892 the final edition of Leaves of Grass appeared on sale, and Whitman's life work was complete. He died two months later on the evening of March 26, 1892, and was buried four days afterward at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
Holding a very special place among Whitman's writing, & very unlike anything by Thoreau, Specimen Days is as close as we get to Walt with his masks removed. There is something of a suburbanite in Whitman's appreciation of nature; essentially, he simply went, looked around & wrote down what he saw & what he did. Force of nature that he was, what he mostly saw was, of course, himself. Nature is benign.
The Civil War entries are famous. The real war, which Whitman said would never get in the books, makes an appearance in the sad hospitals he visited.
Specimen Days is an inspiring message to us. Whitman knew we would be here.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By DJ Rix on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Holding a very special place among Whitman's writing, & very unlike anything by Thoreau, Specimen Days is as close as we get to Walt with his masks removed. There is something of a suburbanite in Whitman's appreciation of nature; essentially, he simply went, looked around & wrote down what he saw & what he did. Force of nature that he was, what he mostly saw was, of course, himself. Nature is benign. The Civil War entries are famous. The real war, which Whitman said would never get in the books, makes an appearance in the sad hospitals he visited.
Specimen Days is an inspiring message to us. Whitman knew we would be here.

Bob Rixon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 21, 2009
Format: Paperback
This very interesting book is based on fragments of diaries and other autobiographical material collected almost randomly over the long duration of Whitman's life. The recollections include vignettes from his childhood, a long set of powerful recollections of his work in hospitals during the Civil War, and a good deal of nature writing. This is something of a hodge-podge, the longest section in the book, for example, is an essay of the British writer Thomas Carlyle. The quality of writing is consistently high. The best part, and the best known, is the Civil War sequence. The nature writing is consistently excellent though somewhat repetitive. Whitman's passionate attachment to democratic nationalism runs throughout Specimen Days.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Philip W. Henry on February 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
Specimen Days & Collect
Walt Whitman, "Specimen Days"

For four years, from 1862 to 1865, Walt Whitman visited thousands of wounded Civil War soldiers in hospitals. He kept a record his observations in "Specimen Days." He characterized the dead as "The Million Dead," and celebrated them in his poems.

"Ashes of Soldiers"
Again a verse for sake of you,
You soldiers in the ranks--you Volunteers,
Who bravely fighting, silent fell,
To fill unmention'd graves.

ASHES of soldiers!
As I muse, retrospective, murmuring a chant in thought,
Lo! the war resumes--again to my sense your shapes,
And again the advance of armies.

Noiseless as mists and vapors,
From their graves in the trenches ascending,
From the cemeteries all through Virginia and Tennessee,
From every point of the compass, out of the countless unnamed graves,
In wafted clouds, in myraids large, or squads of twos or threes, or
single ones, they come,
And silently gather round me. 10

Now sound no note, O trumpeters!
Not at the head of my cavalry, parading on spirited horses,
With sabres drawn and glist'ning, and carbines by their thighs--(ah,
my brave horsemen!
My handsome, tan-faced horsemen! what life, what joy and pride,
With all the perils, were yours!)

Nor you drummers--neither at reveille, at dawn,
Nor the long roll alarming the camp--nor even the muffled beat for a
burial;
Nothing from you, this time, O drummers, bearing my warlike drums.
Read more ›
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jerry A. Jarc on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Did not finish, but did not expect this to chronicle his experience as a visitor so to speak of civil war victims. It is well written and an interesting chronicle of the useless loss of lives, brothers against brothers, of the war. Too bad we have not learned our lesson!
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