I’m excited to announce that our first installment of Whitman’s marginalia and annotations has been published at the Walt Whitman Archive: <http://www.whitmanarchive.org/manuscripts/marginalia/>
This installment features over 100 different documents, with notes on a fascinating range of texts and figures including Henry David Thoreau, John Milton, J.W. Goethe, Sarah Siddons, John Dryden, Thomas Carlyle, William Shakespeare, Frances Wright, William Blake, and Oliver Goldsmith, as well as annotations about the cultures and literary histories of Asia, Africa, and India. There are also an introduction and a description of our main editorial principles.
Full credits and acknowledgments are available at the links above, but here I’d like to thank first the many students whose work is published (but also often invisible) in the edition. From tracking down and assembling lists of these documents to obtaining scans, transcribing, and editing them, the labor of this project was immense and largely accomplished by graduate and undergraduate researchers. Also to be thanked are the general editors of the Walt Whitman Archive, Kenneth Price and Ed Folsom, and the project’s funders: gratitude goes to Elizabeth Cullingford of the University of Texas Department of English and to our peer reviewers at the National Endowment of the Humanities for their support and vision. And thank you to our editorial board members–Michael Winship, Terry Catapano, H.J. Jackson, Steven Olsen-Smith, and William Sherman–who were of great and strategic help along the way.
Plenty of work remains. This is the first time an attempt has been made to gather and publish all of Whitman’s notes on his reading; the task is an enormous one, involving thousands of pages of notes and marginalia, currently held at a dozen institutions. We’ve got hundreds more documents to encode and transcribe, as well as a growing handlist of texts Whitman read that we are still trying to format and display. These will be made available as time and resources permit, so stay tuned. And if you are a researcher and there’s a document you suspect us to have knowledge of that does not appear here, drop us a line of inquiry.