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Ed Folsom

Ed Folsom is the editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, co-editor of the Whitman Archive, and editor of the Whitman Series at the University of Iowa Press. The Carver Professor of English at the University of Iowa, he is the author or editor of numerous books on Whitman, including Walt Whitman’s Native Representations, Whitman East and West,and Walt Whitman: The Centennial Essays.


The Walt Whitman Controversy: A Lost Document

The publication of significant previously unpublished work by one of America’s best-known authors is always a major literary event, but when it is an unpublished piece by Mark Twain about another of America’s legendary writers, Walt Whitman, it i [...]

“What a Filthy Presidentiad!”: Clinton’s Whitman, Bush’s Whitman, and Whitman’s America

Spring 2005 | Essays


United States presidents have usually gotten exactly the Walt Whitman they deserved. During his own lifetime, Whitman admired and disdained presidents with unusual passion, rising to some of his most sublime language to evoke Lincoln (“the sweetest, wisest soul of all my days and lands”) and descending to some of his coarsest to describe Benjamin Harrison (“the scalawag who was and is . . . the shit-ass! God damn ’im”). There was a long foreground to Whitman’s Harrison-register of voice, brought on in the 1840s and 50s, while he watched helplessly as a whole line of hapless presidents allowed the country to slip toward civil war:

The Walt Whitman House, Camden, New Jersey

“This Heart’s Geography’s Map”

Spring 2005 | Photography

Walt Whitman was fascinated with photographic images of himself. From the 1840s until within a year of his death, Whitman sat for photographers, collected and commented on the results, admired certain poses and disliked others, had hundreds of copies [...]