Inspiring Walt Whitman

“Each article was edited by a specialist in the subject’s field. If the author left something out that the associate editor thought was important, we would require the author to revise the essay. Almost always they did so cheerfully.” — general editor John A. Garraty

So you’re back again. As you may recall, I’ve been hopping up and down on this 24-volume stack of American National Biography, the collection of the nation’s best, brightest, and burliest. And you said something like, Who the devil needs such a tome when I’ve got Wikipedia at my fingertips? I asked you, young sophomore, if Wikipedia was penned by the most eminent scholars in the field, edited by yet more obscenely educated hands, and easily thumb-able whilst forking a bit of lime pie onto your tongue. What do you mean, the authorship is entirely democratic?

Well, I then put to you a clue, to see if you knew what you so arrogantly thought you did, and now I’m hitting you with another. Yes, like a thrown glove, sir.

This beloved American writer, lecturer, preacher, and philosopher was inspiration to both Walt Whitman and Nietzsche. But when visiting Europe in the 1830s, he was more impressed with the scenery and old buildings than with his contemporaries Wordsworth and Coleridge! He was, however, friend and U.S. agent to Thomas Carlyle.

Go get it. I shall post the answer in a sun’s rotation.

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Filed under American Culture, Books

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