Title: The New World
Author: Susan Belasco
Publication information: Written for the Walt Whitman Archive. First published on the Archive in 2008.
Whitman Archive ID: per.00164
In May 1841, Whitman moved into New York City from Long Island and worked briefly as a compositor on the New World, a weekly newspaper founded by Park Benjamin in 1840. Benjamin had been trained as a lawyer in Boston but left his practice to move to New York, where he became a prominent journalist, poet, and editor. He first edited the prestigious New England Magazine and later merged it with the American Monthly Magazine. The New World, which proclaimed on the masthead that "the whole boundless continent is ours," was designed to be a vehicle for both literature and news. Benjamin published popular American poets in his series "Original Poetry," including Lydia Sigourney and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In the absence of an international copyright law, Benjamin also printed popular British novels as supplements to his paper, such as Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit and American Notes. Although Whitman and Benjamin sharply disagreed about Benjamin's preference for British materials over works by American writers, Benjamin evidently thought that Whitman's name would be good for the New World. In addition to printing two of Whitman's poems in November and December 1841, he also published some of Whitman's short stories, as well as Franklin Evans; Or the Inebriate, Whitman's temperance novel, in a supplement on November 23, 1842. "A Sketch" followed in December 1842. (For more information on Whitman and Benjamin, click here.)
Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: Comprehensive Reader's Edition, ed. Harold W. Blodgett and Sculley Bradley (New York: New York University Press, 1965).
Ezra Greenspan, Walt Whitman and the American Reader (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Jerome Loving, "A Newly Discovered Whitman Poem," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 11 (Winter 1994): 117-122.
Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).
Frank Luther Mott, American Journalism a History: 1690-1960 (New York: Macmillan Company, 1995).
Joel Myerson, Walt Whitman: A Descriptive Bibliography (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993).