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Specimen Days & Collect Paperback – August 15, 1995

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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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
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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: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8.5 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: #500,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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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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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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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.
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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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