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Whitman's & Dickinson's Contemporaries

An Anthology of their Verse

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Edited and with an Introduction by Robert Bain


NLEB (Other formats: Paperback)
592 pages, 5.625 x 9.25


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About the Book

Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman were not the poetic stars of their day; only a few friends knew that Dickinson wrote, and Whitman’s following was minuscule, if influential. But the contemporaries who eclipsed these major poets now have largely disappeared from our literary landscape.

In this distinctive anthology, Robert Bain gathers together thirteen other scholars to re-present the poetry of these former luminaries, allowing readers to rediscover them, reconstruct the poetic contexts of their age, and better understand why Whitman and Dickinson now overshadow other poets of their time.

Arranged chronologically according to the birth dates of the poets, this anthology introduces each poet’s work, providing biographical information and discussing the major forms and themes of the work. Each introduction places the poet in a literary and historical context with Whitman and Dickinson and provides a bibliography of secondary sources.

This remarkable book recovers a part of our literary heritage that has been lost.


Robert Bain is a professor emeritus of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


"History. . . has played gigantic jokes on Whitman’s and Dickinson’s contemporary American poets. During their lifetimes, Walt Whitman had a small coterie of admirers, Emerson and Thoreau among them; only a few friends knew that Emily Dickinson wrote poetry. Many American poets commanding readers’ attention during that time have suffered such a decline in reputation that their works are not easily available. This anthology presents the poetry of Whitman’s and Dickinson’s contemporaries so that readers can rediscover these authors [and] reconstruct the poetic contexts of the age."—Robert Bain, from the Preface