New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1928. Single volume, measuring 7.25 x 5 inches: , 330, . Original full tan pebbled cloth, spine and front board lettered in brown, yellow endpapers decorated with publisher’s seal, top edge stained brown. Original unclipped pictorial dust jacket in brown and tan. Small presentation inscription to front free endpaper, ink ownership signature to first blank. A few tiny chips to dust jacket corners and spine ends, small stain to fore-edge.
First edition of this unorthodox biography of Walt Whitman, written by an author of popular historical fiction, and structured as a series of imagined dialogues. Although her subtitle promises that “the good gray poet speaks for himself” in these pages, Corbett freely imagines not only Whitman’s words, but those of his contemporaries, including Edgar Allan Poe and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and wildly fabricates a sultry Creole lover for her hero “in the most romantic days of old New Orleans." The narrative portrays Whitman as exceptional from childhood. The editor of the Long Island Patriot, where the apprentice Whitman sets type, declares: “I appreciate your curiosity, Walt. Don’t ever let anybody tell you curiosity is a vice. For any man worthy of the name, it stands right at the head of the virtues.” A near-fine example of an interesting piece of modern literary mythmaking.