Carolyn Masel
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Poet of comrades
Walt Whitman and the Bolton Whitman Fellowship

The usual harsh verdict passed on Walt Whitman's later poetry tends to dismiss the bravery involved in the decision, reiterated many times, to go on writing in the face of ever-diminishing returns. The story of the Bolton Whitman Fellowship begins in the 1880s and therefore concerns some of Whitman's earliest avid readers. Paul Salveson himself gave an account of the history of the Bolton Whitmanites that was later published as a pamphlet entitled Loving Comrades. The high point of the discipleship of the two foremost Whitmanites in the Bolton group was undoubtedly their pilgrimage to see the good grey poet in Camden, Dr John Johnston travelling there in 1890 and James William Wallace in 1891. Wentworth Dixon claimed Wallace as Whitman's spiritual superior, since Whitman was, one could hardly help noticing, self-promoting, whereas Wallace was utterly selfless.

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Special relationships

Anglo-American affinities and antagonisms 1854–1936


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