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Walt Whitman was an American poet whose verse collection Leaves of Grass is a landmark in the history of American literature.
Walt Whitman is best known for his realist poetry and political works during the Civil War. His most famous collection of poems, "Leaves of Grass," caused a stir upon its release for its frank sexual themes.
Although he was married to Constance Lloyd, Wilde spent nights in a hotel with Lord Alfred Douglas. It was his most prolific writing period.
Oscar Wilde's father was Ireland's leading eye surgeon and was knighted in 1864.
Oscar Wilde died at age 46 on November 30, 1900 from meningitis.
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A voracious reader and aspiring poet, Whitman returned to Brooklyn in the autumn of 1848 and started a new "free soil" newspaper called the Brooklyn Freeman.
Over the next seven years, as the nation's temperature over the slavery question continued to rise, Whitman's own anger over the issue elevated as well. He often worried about the impact of slavery on the future of the nation and its democracy. It was during this time that he turned to a simple 3.5 by 5.5 inch notebook,
writing down his observations and searching for a poetic voice that could bind together the disparate factions he saw plaguing the country.
In the spring of 1855, Whitman, finally finding the style and voice he'd been searching for, self-published a slim collection of 12 unnamed poems titled Leaves of Grass. Whitman could only afford to print 795 copies of the book. Leaves of Grass marked a radical departure from established poetic norms. Traditional rhyme and meter were discarded in favor of a voice that came at the reader directly, in the first person. On its cover was an image of the bearded poet himself.
The book received little attention at first, though it did catch the eye of fellow poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote Whitman to praise the collection as "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom" to come from an American pen.
The following year, Whitman published a revised edition of Leaves of Grass that included 33 poems, including a new piece, "Sun-down Poem" (it was later renamed "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"), as well as Emerson's letter to Whitman and the poet's long response to him.
Fascinated by this newcomer to the poetry scene, Emerson dispatched writers Henry David Thoreau and Bronson Alcott to Brooklyn to meet Whitman. Whitman, now living at home and truly the man of the homestead (his father passed away in 1855), resided in the attic of the family house.
By this point, Whitman's family life was marked by dysfunction. His brother Andrew was an alcoholic, while his sister was mentally unstable. Whitman himself had to share his bed with his mentally handicapped brother.
Alcott wrote of Whitman, "eyes gray, unimaginative, cautious yet sagacious," wrote Alcott, "his voice deep, sharp, tender sometimes and almost melting. When talking he will recline upon the couch at length, pillowing his head upon his bended arm, and informing you naively how lazy he is, and slow."
Like its earlier edition, this second version of Leaves of Grass failed to gain much commercial traction. In 1860, a Boston publisher issued a third edition of Leaves of Grass. The revised book held some promise, but the start of the Civil War drove the publishing company out of business, furthering Whitman's financial struggles.
In 1862, Whitman moved to Washington D.C. His brother George, who fought for the Union, was being treated in the capital for a wound he's suffered in the war. Whitman ended up staying in Washington for the next several years.
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The Chaplin. The Fu Manchu. The Van Dyke. The Garlbaldi. These beards, and other creative variations on chin whiskers, have become such a striking reflection of their wearers' personalities that it becomes hard to know whether the people made the facial hair famous, or the other way around. We do know this much is certain: the only rivals to these fabulous beards are the men sporting them.
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