Idaho Professor On A Quest To Find Lost Walt Whitman Novels

Jul 18, 2018

One Idaho professor is on the hunt for two lost novels written by one of America's seminal poets, which may have been hidden for more than 100 years.

University of Idaho American Literature professor Zachery Turpin is on a quest. He believes there are two novels written by Walt Whitman that no one knows about.

Turpin has been digging through Whitman’s notes and papers and found references to two novels: “The Sleeptalker,” and “Proud Antoinette.” He thinks they may have been published in newspapers under a different name about the same time Whitman wrote his famous manuscript “Leaves of Grass.”

“He didn’t use his own name, he used pseudonyms or published them anonymously and as far as we know he told few or no people about them. He essentially just let them fall into obscurity as he became what he thought of as the new poet of the United States,” says Turpin.

Speaking on Idaho Matters, Turpin says he has already found two other unknown manuscripts written by Whitman, including “Life and Adventures of Jack Engle.”

He plans to use grant money from the U of I to travel to New York to investigate old archives in his quest to track down the lost novels.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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