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Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians
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Hachette Books 2014
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Description
In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of radicals in a rowdy saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on the path to poetic immortality.
Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artists- regulars at Pfaff's Saloon in Manhattan-rightly considered America's original Bohemians. Besides a young Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth; trailblazing stand-up comic Artemus Ward; psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow; and brazen performer Adah Menken, famous for her Naked Lady routine. Central to their times, the artists managed to forge connections with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and even Abraham Lincoln. This vibrant tale, packed with original research, offers the pleasures of a great group biography like The Banquet Years or The Metaphysical Club. Justin Martin shows how this first bohemian culture-imported from Paris to a dingy Broadway saloon-seeded and nurtured an American tradition of rebel art that thrives to this day.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/02/2014
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780306822278
ASIN:
B00JNYDI80
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Justin Martin. (2014). Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians. Hachette Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Justin Martin. 2014. Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians. Hachette Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Justin Martin, Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians. Hachette Books, 2014.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Justin Martin. Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians. Hachette Books, 2014. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:54:22
Date Updated:
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        Justin Martin is the author of three highly praised previous biographies: Greenspan: the Man behind Money, Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon, and Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. As one of the few journalists to gain access to Greenspan, Martin produced a best-selling biography of the secretive Fed chairman, selected as a notable book by the New York Times Book Review. Martin's Nader biography served as a primary source for An Unreasonable Man , an Academy Award–nominated documentary. Genius of Place, the first full scale biography of Olmsted received glowing reviews nationally. Martin's articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Fortune, Newsweek, and the San Francisco Chronicle .

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title
Rebel Souls
fullDescription
In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of radicals in a rowdy saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on the path to poetic immortality.
Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artists- regulars at Pfaff's Saloon in Manhattan-rightly considered America's original Bohemians. Besides a young Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth; trailblazing stand-up comic Artemus Ward; psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow; and brazen performer Adah Menken, famous for her Naked Lady routine. Central to their times, the artists managed to forge connections with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and even Abraham Lincoln. This vibrant tale, packed with original research, offers the pleasures of a great group biography like The Banquet Years or The Metaphysical Club. Justin Martin shows how this first bohemian culture-imported from Paris to a dingy Broadway saloon-seeded and nurtured an American tradition of rebel art that thrives to this day.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 30, 2014
        Martin (Genius of Place) offers an engaging history of a literary underground—a bohemian group headed by Henry Clapp Jr.—that actually gathered underground, sitting around a long table in a vaulted room at Pfaff’s saloon in New York City. Though Walt Whitman is the best-known of the group, readers may find themselves drawn to his lesser-known comrades: Fitz Hugh Ludlow, author of The Hashish Eater; actress Ada Clare; Adah Isaac Menken, who achieved considerable fame on stage, tied naked to a horse in the opera Mazeppa; and Charlie Brown (aka Artemus Ward), who was considered “America’s first stand-up comedian.” Martin’s writing rises to the occasion; readers will long to have heard Ward’s act, to have seen a production of Mazeppa, or to have read selections from Ludlow’s book and Clare’s columns in the Saturday Press. The main focus of the book is Whitman—his participation in circle, his efforts to publish Leaves of Grass, his ministering to wounded soldiers, and his infatuation with Peter Doyle. Highlights include Ludlow’s travels with artist Albert Bierstadt and a brief appearance by Mark Twain. Despite the author’s evident passion and considerable research, the narrative suffers from occasional choppiness and repetition. But it’s still a worthwhile read despite these minor flaws and introduces armchair literary historians to a dazzling cast of eccentrics. 16 pages of b&w photos. Agent: Don Fehr, Trident Media Group.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        August 1, 2014
        Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is only the best known of Martin's (Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted, 2011, etc.) gallery of the 19th-century bohemians who haunted Pfaff's Saloon in New York City. The leader of this boisterous set was Henry Clapp (1814-1875), an irreverent moral relativist who thrilled in playing off his coterie of writers and artists for the best put-downs and bons mots. Clapp's attitude sprang from his experiences in Paris' Latin Quarter, where he met the true bohemians who formed the basis of La Vie de Boheme. They sat in Cafe Momus discussing, rather than producing, their art and drinking strong coffee and stronger alcohol. Mostly, they had no money, no prospects, multiple romances and lots of talk. Ultimately, these circumstances brought Clapp back to the saloon on the corner of Broadway and Bleeker Street to interact with the fascinating crowd he met there night after night. Though Whitman was often there, he was not always with Clapp's crowd. He also spent time with new friends in the larger room, where one's sexuality was not a matter of discussion. Many of the figures in Martin's entertaining cultural history failed miserably, and many died young. Some like actor Edwin Booth (brother to John Wilkes) and humor writer Artemus Ward, left their marks, while others faded away. As they spread across America and the Atlantic, they met writers as diverse as Mark Twain and Charles Dickens. Clapp vigorously promoted Whitman's Leaves of Grass and gave Twain his first national break in the Saturday Press. Martin truly opens up the characters of these creative, sensitive men, examining their lives before the Civil War and the ways in which they reacted to it. The author's solid research into the connections of these curiously varied men and women makes this a wonderful story of one of the world's odd little cultural cliques.

        COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2014

        Martin (Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted) focuses on the little-discussed Bohemian scene based out of the Manhattan bar Pfaff's in the late 1850s and early 1860s. We read about the group's ringleader, journalist Henry Clapp Jr., and his bacchanalian acolytes, including the writers Fitz-James O'Brien and Fitz Hugh Ludlow, actress and poet Adah Isaacs Menken, columnist and feminist Ada Clare, actor Edwin Booth (brother of Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth), comedian Artemus Ward, and, most important, poet Walt Whitman. Martin successfully demonstrates the group's impact on the still-obscure Whitman, especially Clapp's through his influential but short-lived literary newspaper the Saturday Press. Clapp's Bohemian scene flourished from 1858 until the start of the Civil War, which dispersed its members across the country. Martin traces their paths afterward, including Ward's friendship with a young Mark Twain out West. VERDICT This accessible, briskly paced book brings attention to a rich but sorely overlooked scene, shades of which are still present in today's American artistic and intellectual circles. Fans of American literature and counterculture will find plenty to enjoy.--Brian Flota, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA

        Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2014
        America's first cultural bohemian, Henry Clapp Jr., was an erstwhile puritan radical (abolitionist, pacifist, teetotaler) who'd lived in the original, Parisian bohemia. Returning to New York a new manhe'd learned to drinkhe fixed on a basement biergarten, Pfaff's at Broadway and Bleecker, as the place to host an avant-garde roundtable. Soon, young writers and artists flocked, but Clapp lacked a Lancelot to put forward as the best advanced artist in America. Enter Walt Whitman, without whom Pfaff's saloon and Clapp's circle would be much more obscure than they are. Clapp knew what he was looking for: not a brilliant, heavy-drinking, irreverent, flamboyant brat but someone accustomed to honing his work and biding the time it took to be appreciated, even if that someone was no drinker, wit, or iconoclast, distinctive but hardly showy, and middle-aged. Martin constructs a group biography of the circle at Pfaff's by alternating chapters about Whitman and about Clapp and the most successful of the youngsters, including prolific writer and prodigious drunkard Fitz-James O'Brien, celebrity druggie Fitz Hugh Ludlow, stand-up comedian Artemus Ward (the first of the kind, Martin says), and liberated woman and theatrical sensation Adah Isaacs Menken. This is popular history the way it should be, well-researched and authoritative yet demotic in idiom and unpretentious in presentation, a darn good read.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2014, American Library Association.)

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shortDescription
In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of radicals in a rowdy saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on the path to poetic immortality.
Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artists- regulars at Pfaff's Saloon in Manhattan-rightly considered America's original Bohemians. Besides a young Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth; trailblazing stand-up comic Artemus Ward; psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow; and brazen performer Adah Menken, famous for her Naked Lady routine. Central to their times, the artists managed to forge connections with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, and even Abraham Lincoln. This vibrant tale, packed with original research, offers the pleasures of a great group biography like The Banquet Years or The Metaphysical Club. Justin Martin shows how this first bohemian culture-imported from Paris to a dingy Broadway saloon-seeded and nurtured an American...
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Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians
publisher
Hachette Books