Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


American Studies


Kenneth M Price


Few scholars have attempted to conduct a close examination of Whitman's relationship to his publishers in the context of Leaves of Grass. In their "Typographic Yawp: Leaves of Grass , 1855--1992," Megan and Paul Benton present a minimal, but interesting examination of the typographic story of Leaves, but they ignore three of the editions and deal with author-publisher relations only superficially. Other articles examine individual editions of Leaves of Grass, but none really explore what Whitman's complicated relationships with the publishers of his time tell us about the conditions for his work and for authorship in mid-nineteenth-century America. Most studies tend to focus on Whitman's poetry, rather than on issues associated with his publication history. In his Disseminating Whitman: Revision and Corporeality in Leaves of Grass, for example, Michael Moon carefully examines various editions, but chooses to concentrate on Whitman's poetic revisions and program, rather than discussing aspects related to the publication story behind Leaves of Grass. This study will try to address this gap in Whitman scholarship and, in so doing, try to answer the following questions: Were Whitman's ambitions for his Leaves of Grass fulfilled? Did he ever reach his intended audience?



© The Author