Call for Papers: Walt Whitman and the Press

Whitman Studies Association panel at the 29th annual conference of the American Literature Association (2018).

From Walt Whitman’s early work as a journalist to (self)-representations of his life and writings in contemporary periodicals, America’s poet had and continues to have a complex relationship to the press. Whitman relied on and actively employed the press to bolster his reputation and celebrity status, used his position as editor and journalist to forward his political views, boldly voiced his ideas about the importance of a free press while also occasionally screaming “fake news,” and feuded quite publicly with newspaper editors, politicians, and administrators. This panel will be dedicated to examining any aspect of Whitman’s relationship to or portrayal within the press.

We are especially interested in papers that discuss: (1) Whitman’s ideas about the press and its role in the American Republic; (2) Whitman’s relationship with specific periodicals and journalists; (3) Whitman’s experimentation with journalistic genres and boundaries; (4) Visual or written portrayals of Whitman in the press (past or present), including those by Whitman himself; (5) The relationship between Whitman’s journalism and his poetry and prose; (6) The circulation of works by or about Whitman in the national and international press.

Please send one-page abstracts electronically no later than January 12, 2018 to the panel chairs Stephanie M. Blalock (stephanie-blalock@uiowa.edu) and Stefan Schöberlein (stefan-schoeberlein@uiowa.edu).

The conference will take place from May 24-27, 2018, at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, CA. For more information about the 2018 ALA conference, see the conference website.

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.