Rebel Souls

Rebel Souls

Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians

Book - 2014
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"In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of radicals in a rowdy saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on the path to poetic immortality. Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artists-- regulars at Pfaff's Saloon in Manhattan--rightly considered America's original Bohemians. Besides a young Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth; trailblazing stand-up comic Artemus Ward; psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow; and brazen performer Adah Menken, famous for her Naked Lady routine. Central to their times, the artists managed to forge connections with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and even Abraham Lincoln. This vibrant tale, packed with original research, offers the pleasures of a great group biography like The Banquet Years or The Metaphysical Club. Justin Martin shows how this first bohemian culture--imported from Paris to a dingy Broadway saloon--seeded and nurtured an American tradition of rebel art that thrives to this day. "
"Certain moments and settings in literary history are so dense and rich as to require a group biography. Bloomsbury, Berlin in the 20's, or the periods in Paris that inspired The Banquet Years or A Charmed Circle are among these.The birth of Bohemia in New York on the eve of the Civil War is such a moment. The brilliant, rowdy circle included Walt Whitman, Edwin Booth, the comic Artemus Ward, and reached out to involve Emerson, Albert Bierstadt, and Mark Twain. Whitman towered over this circle which in turn liberated both his life and his work. In this ebullient story, packed with original research, Justin Martin, the author of 3 acclaimed and successful biographies, shows how this first "Bohemian" culture, imported from Paris, sprouted in a dingy Broadway saloon against the shadow of a fractured nation, nurtured and launched Walt Whitman and seeded an American tradition of rebel art that endures today. "
Publisher: New York : Da Capo Press, 2014
ISBN: 9780306822261
Branch Call Number: 811x WHITM MARTI
Characteristics: 339 pages


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