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By Daniel Mark Epstein

Kindred spirits regardless of their profound ameliorations in place, Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman shared a imaginative and prescient of the democratic personality. they'd learn or listened to every other’s phrases at an important turning issues of their lives, and either have been completely remodeled through the tragedy of the Civil conflict. during this radiant booklet, poet and biographer Daniel Mark Epstein tracks the parallel lives of those titans from the day that Lincoln first learn Leaves of Grass to the elegy Whitman composed after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.

Drawing on a wealthy trove of private and newspaper money owed and diary files, Epstein indicates how the impact and reverence flowed among those men–and brings to lifestyles the various acquaintances and contacts they shared. Epstein has written a masterful portrait of 2 nice American figures and the period they formed via phrases and deeds.

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Lincoln, his glance and gait—his ideal composure and coolness—his strange and uncouth top, his costume of entire black, stovepipe hat push’d again at the head, dark-brown complexion, seam’d and wrinkled but canny-looking face, black, hairy head of hair, disproportionately lengthy neck, and his palms held at the back of as he stood staring at the folk. He look’d with interest upon that colossal sea of faces, and the ocean of faces return’d the glance with comparable interest. ” Whitman didn't remember any speech. Press studies of Lincoln’s manhattan reception fluctuate somewhat—from that of the Republican ny occasions, which describes “an immeasurable outpouring of the folks [that] flooded the avenues and streets” and says, “the concord of incessant cheers was once unbroken through indecent language or gesture . . . definitely no welcome might have been extra cordial or respectful,” to that of a Democratic newspaper that referred to as the group subdued and small in comparison to the new turnout for the Prince of Wales. there's little point out of assassination plots or strength violence. After his election Lincoln had all started to seem in Whitman’s desires, and there's a lot that's dreamlike within the poet’s reminiscence of that February afternoon in 1861. even though Whitman were an acutely observant journalist, his account, written in 1879, is suffused with dread, as though he's waiting for the tragedy to return. And it differs so sharply from the scoop studies we needs to suspect that the poet has imposed upon this exciting second the stories and impressions of later years, whilst he could see the President even more heavily. or 3 shabby hack barouches made their manner with a few hassle in the course of the crowd, and drew up on the Astor apartment front. A tall determine stepp’d out of the guts of those barouches, paus’d leisurely at the sidewalk, look’d up on the granite partitions and looming structure of the grand previous hotel—then, after a relieving stretch of legs and arms, turn’d round for over a minute to slowly and good-humoredly test the looks of the great and silent crowds. there have been no speeches, no compliments—no welcome—as a long way as i'll listen, now not a be aware acknowledged. nonetheless a lot anxiousness used to be conceal’d in that quiet. this can be a brilliant, actual portrait of Lincoln getting out of a hackney cab, instead of of the President-elect descending from the regal barouche whose six black steeds had transported the Prince of Wales. The silent, sullen crowd was once now not the cheering multitude defined within the instances, Tribune, and bring in. And the lengthy minute the poet beheld the President-elect for the 1st time turns out to exist nowhere in heritage yet in Whitman’s recollection. His “capital view of all of it” from the head of the omnibus was once instantly far better and much worse than others’, if he observed Lincoln so it seems that for thus lengthy a time and but didn't see him stretch his leg over the windowsill and climb onto the coping to deal with the gang. Whitman turns out to were deaf to their applause, too. “Cautious individuals had fear’d a few mark’d insult or indignity to the President-elect,” Whitman recalled, and this can be precise.

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