The Ninth Annual International Whitman Week Seminar and Symposium

University of Exeter, England
May 30 – June 4, 2016

Invitation for Applications to the 9th Transatlantic Walt Whitman Seminar

Founded in Paris in 2007, the Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association (TWWA) invites students, researchers, and Whitman enthusiasts to participate in its 9th annual Whitman Week, consisting of a Seminar for advanced students interested in Whitman and Whitman’s poetry, and a Symposium bringing together international scholars and graduate students. Previous Whitman Weeks have been held at Universität Dortmund, Germany (2008), Université Francois Rabelais, France (2009), Università di Macerata, Italy (2010), Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil (2011), Szczecin University, Poland (2012), Northwestern University, USA (2013), Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, Germany (2014), and Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich. The 2016 event will be held at the University of Exeter in England.

TWWA’s Mission

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass remains a landmark of modern poetry and world literature. Every year new editions of Whitman’s work are published in a variety of languages; an ever-expanding group of poets “reply” to him in their poetry; his poems are set to music and are quoted in films; he is invoked in the discussion of political and cultural issues, as well as of gender and sexuality; and he continues to be a huge presence in college and university curricula globally. In order to respond adequately to this international phenomenon, TWWA sponsors a yearly International Whitman Seminar, during which students from different countries come together for an intensive, credit-bearing Seminar taught by an international team of Whitman specialists.

Seminar Structure

In the morning classes, focusing on some of Whitman’s major poems and selections from his prose, students will have an opportunity to confront Whitman’s books, share their readings of key poems and clusters, and discuss Whitman’s attempts at a multilingual English, his cohesive representation of human relations, and his work’s international significance. In addition, there will be afternoon translation workshops of his poems into various languages. (The specific readings that will be the focus of the Seminar will be announced a month before the start of the Seminar.)


The team of international instructors for 2016 will be:

Ed Folsom: Professor of American Literature at the University of Iowa; co-director of the online Whitman Archive; editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review; author, co-author and editor of over 20 Whitman-related books, including, most recently, Walt Whitman’s Democratic Vistas: A Facsimile of the Original Edition (2010), Re-Scripting Walt Whitman (2007) co-authored with Kenneth M. Price, Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman (2005).

Jay Grossman: Associate Professor of English at Northwestern University; author of Reconstituting the American Renaissance: Emerson, Whitman, and the Politics of Representation (2003), and numerous essays on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, especially Emerson and Whitman, the history of the book, and the history of sexuality; co-editor (with Betsy Erkkila), Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies (1996).

Kirsten Harris: Senior Tutor in the School of Modern Languages at the University of Bristol. Author of Walt Whitman and British Socialism: 'The Love of Comrades' (Forthcoming 2016), and articles on Walt Whitman, Edward Carpenter and radical British politics. Other research interests include socialist literature and print culture, literary transatlanticism, and protest writing.

Sascha Pöhlmann: Lecturer, American Literary History, LMU Munich, Germany. Author of Pynchon's Postnational Imagination (2010), along with various edited collections and articles on topics such Ireland and the USA, violence and culture, American counterculture, contemporary American fiction, queer theory, banned books, and Whitman’s poetry and prose.


International students will live together at no charge with Exeter students, thus creating opportunities for meaningful intercultural dialogue.

Applications for the Seminar

Applications for the seminar should include a curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of interest, and a short letter of support from an instructor who knows the applicant well. All of these materials, including the letter of recommendation, should be submitted by e-mail to the Exeter organizer, Peter Riley (p.riley@exeter.ac.uk) by February 29, 2016.

If you have any questions about the International Whitman Week 2016, do not hesitate to send the organizer an e-mail any time.


Students are expected to attend and may, if they wish, take part in the Symposium. This event will be held immediately following the Seminar, and feature scholarly papers by Whitman scholars and graduate students from various countries. A separate paper proposal must be submitted in order to participate in the Symposium. This year’s Symposium theme is “British Whitman.” The Call for Papers appears below.

Call for Papers

The Transatlantic Walt Whitman Association is pleased to announce

An Open Call for Papers: “British Whitman”

To be held at the University of Exeter in England on June 4, 2016

The first foreign edition of Whitman's poetry was published in London, in 1868 – by William Michael Rossetti – and Poems by Walt Whitman was vital in circulating Whitman's poetry around the British Isles and British Empire. In fact visitors to Britain are likely to have discovered Whitman through Rossetti's agency rather than in the original US editions (this is one of the theories around Rimbaud's putative familiarity with Whitman). Possible topics for discussion include (while not being limited to): the literary and political impact of Rossetti's selection; Whitman's standing in English-speaking countries outside the US; Whitman's fraught relationship to "feudal" Britain and how it resonated with the struggles of colonised peoples; class- and gender-based interpretations of Whitman in Britain; Whitmanian discipleship in Britain; and Whitmanian comradeship and evolving mores and laws in Britain and its former colonies; connections and disjunctions between Whitman’s political aspirations and the Victorian “white man’s burden”.

One-page abstracts of paper proposals to be sent electronically, no later than February 29 2016, to all four symposium organizers:

Peter Riley p.riley@exeter.ac.uk
Eric Athenot eric.athenot@orange.fr
Stephanie Blalock stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu
Kenneth M. Price kprice@unl.edu

2016 American Literature Association Annual Meeting: Whitman Panels

The 2016 ALA Annual Conference will be held from May 26-29, 2016, in San Francisco, CA. There will be two Whitman panels organized by the Whitman Studies Association.

Panel One: Walt Whitman’s Work before Leaves of Grass

When, in a letter responding to the first edition of Leaves of Grass, Emerson greeted Whitman at “the beginning of a great career,” he nevertheless intuited that this career “must have had a long foreground somewhere.” This long foreground included not only the many articles and reviews that Whitman had published as a journalist and newspaper editor, but also poetry, short stories, and a temperance novel. This panel will consider the role of Whitman’s early work in relation to his development as “America’s bard.” We invite papers that consider any aspect of his work prior to the publication of the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. Please send one-page abstracts to: Adam Bradford, Florida Atlantic University, abradfo5@fau.edu, by December 31, 2015.

Panel Two: Walt Whitman's Specimen Days: Tying Together the Fragments of a Life.

In the first entry in Specimen Days, dated July 1882, Walt Whitman claims that his book illustrates a general truth: that "few of life's days and hours (and they not by relative value or proportion, but by chance) are ever noted." However, Whitman proceeds to demonstrate that, at least in the case of the present volume, that statement is not true. With exquisite attention to "proportion" and "relative value," Whitman presents to the reader the shape of his own life, from his boyhood on Long island, to his experience in the hospitals during the Civil War, and then his recovery from his paralytic stroke and on to his travels to the West, and finally reflections on art and poetry. Papers are invited on any aspect of Specimen Days, but particularly on the ways that in older age Whitman is able to develop new approaches to retrospective or life writing to accomplish many goals, including regaining health and positioning his own life-experience in the context of his momentous times. Please send one-page abstracts to Robert J. Scholnick, College of William and Mary, rjscho@wm.edu, by December 31, 2015.

Important notice to our readers: WWQR is going open-access

We are pleased to announce that, beginning with the next issue of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review—the first number of volume 33—the journal becomes an open-access, online-only publication.

With this final number of volume 32, then, the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review concludes its print run. Nothing else will change: we will continue to offer the same high-quality, peer-reviewed essays about Whitman, his times, his influence, and his cultural contexts, and we will continue to offer extensive reviews of work about Whitman, including the ongoing annotated "Walt Whitman: A Current Bibliography."

Over the last few years, WWQR has been maintaining both a print version and an electronic version. During that time, we have made available all 32 volumes of WWQR's back issues online, where the articles are searchable and (except for the most recent year of the journal) freely available to everyone on this website. Most of our readers now access the journal online rather than in print, and fewer and fewer readers use the print version. Since the demand for printed copies has dropped, and since printing costs are very high, it is simply no longer feasible to continue issuing the journal in both print and electronic formats.

Subscribers to the journal will continue to enjoy full access to our current issue and to the entire thirty-two-year run of WWQR. Current subscribers, upon request, will receive an email notification when new issues are available online and will receive a PDF file of the entire issue in advance of its online release; contact us at wwqr@uiowa.edu if you would like to take advantage of this service.

As the international journal of record for Whitman studies, we are excited about making our content freely available to users around the world. Journals, even when online only, are still an expensive proposition, so "free" access comes at a significant cost to those who support us. We are extremely grateful to the University of Iowa Libraries, whose Iowa Research Online service funded the initial re-mediation of all of WWQR's print issues into electronic versions, and who continue to support and maintain the online platform for the journal. Over the years, WWQR has had (and continues to have) generous support from the University of Iowa Department of English, the Graduate College, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. We extend our gratitude to all of our supporters, subscribers, and readers, and we look forward to producing an even more exciting and illuminating journal in the years to come.

Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman available

Ed Folsom’s catalog/commentary for the Whitman Making Books / Books Making Whitman symposium and exhibition held at The University of Iowa in 2005 is now available for purchase from WWQR. The book is 80 pages, with over a hundred full-color illustrations of Whitman’s books. Folsom’s commentary explores Whitman as a bookmaker, as someone fully invested in the creation of his books. Tracing Whitman’s career as a printer and bookmaker from his early years in New York to his final years in Camden, New Jersey, Folsom has created what Joel Myerson in a review has described as “much more that the record of an exhibition—it is a biography of Whitman that will stand the test of time.” “Reversing [the] usual perspective,” writes Myerson, “Folsom focuses on Whitman’s print career to tell us about his life, both internal and external,” and, “in so doing, he overturns many critical assumptions about Whitman’s writings.” The book was published by The University of Iowa Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and a limited number of copies are available for $15 (includes shipping). Checks should be made out to "WWQR" and sent to: Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 308 EPB, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1492.