In July of 1999 I taught a week-long workshop on Walt Whitman's poem "Song of Myself" at Friends General Conference Gathering, the largest annual gathering of liberal unprogrammed Friends (the spiritual descendants of Hicksite Quakers) in North America. Over the course of a week, the twenty workshop participants and I read the poem closely, reading each section aloud, helping each other to sort out of the difficulties of the poem, and entering into worship to share our reactions to it. My workshop participants ranged in age from 18 to 83, and included several "weighty" Friends, people who are widely known and respected in the Religious Society of Friends for their ministry and leadership. The group was mainly composed of Liberal Friends, but was spiced a bit by the presence of one or two Conservative Friends, including a preacher's wife (the roles of preacher and preacher's wife do not exist among liberal friends, who follow the Quaker tradition of silent worship, but some Conservative Friends do employ pastors and hold services).
By the end of the week, twenty people who had never before read "Song of Myself"-many of them had never read Whitman at all-were prepared to declare this notoriously difficult work the greatest poem in the English language. One suggested to me that in future years I offer a similar workshop focusing on different poetry. "But then," she said musingly, "why would you want to read any other poems?" But they were also ready, based on our project of reading the poem to see how it illuminated and challenged our faith, to assert that it is a Quaker poem. In a court of law, any of the workshop participants would have to be admitted as an expert on Quakerism, and their combined testimony would be more than enough to convict Whitman.
This experience confirmed for me my personal understanding of "Song of Myself" (the final 1881 version) as a poem about faith, and as a poem that reflects Quaker beliefs both superficially, as in Whitman's habit of following the Quaker practice of numbering the days and months, and more deeply through its imagery. It can also be argued that in the poem's structure, which James Miller has suggested follows the stages of a mystical experience, there are hints of the unique corporate mysticism of Quakers, For instance, the poet's early invitation to others to join him in his loafing, which suggests a communal rather than individual undertaking, and the transition at the beginning of section 44, "It is time to explain myself-let us stand up," which my workshop participants saw as suggesting the moment in Meeting for Worship when a Quaker rises to offer ministry.
However, I am not just a Quaker, but also a literary scholar. From this dual perspective, I understand several things. I understand that a purely Quaker reading of "Song of Myself" is a partial reading which fails to account for a great deal in the poem. I understand that the criterion Quakers use to recognize the Quaker elements in the poem (we know it when we see it) fails to offer non-Quaker literary scholars the kind of evidence they need. And, on the other hand, I understand that there is an ignorance of Quakerism in our culture that leads most people, if they know anything about Quakers at all, to believe that we are something like the Amish (I am often asked how I manage to live without electricity), and I understand that literary scholars are not immune to this ignorance. This I know experimentally, as the founder of Quakerism, George Fox, would say, having had as an undergraduate two literature professors who informed my classes, in the first case, that Quakers were extinct in North America, and, in the second case, that Quakers used to be called Shakers and that the most characteristic quality of Quaker worship is speaking in tongues. None of those three assertions is true. I also know it from my reading of scholarly critical works on Whitman and religion. Let me offer two examples.
First, in "'Song of Myself' as Whitman's American Bible," Herbert J. Levine proposes an understanding of the poem as Whitman's effort "to provide a religious foundation for American democracy foundering on the verge of disunion" (145). Levine traces what he calls Whitman's appropriation and democratization of Biblical imagery and narrative genres, and accepts as an explanation for Whitman's motivation his anxiety about the risk of the breakup of the Union of States. Levine calls Whitman's "new religion" a self-reliant one, guided by what he calls "an inner-directed law" (158). Levine's language-"inner-directed law"-is very similar to the Quaker "light within," "indwelling Christ," or "inner light," which is that measure of the divine which each person uniquely possesses and which is meant to be the individual's religious authority. For Quakers, this inner light is the means by which each person has direct communion with God. In the Hicksite Quaker tradition, the inner light is a greater authority than Biblical scripture. However, according to Levine, this inner-directed law is a "new rule" which Whitman announces to America (158). He also says that the writing of "Song of Myself" marks the moment of Whitman's "[becoming] his own religious tradition" (145). Levine does not mention Quakerism among Whitman's influences, and his overlooking of Quakerism means that he mistakes a religious tradition which there is no doubt Whitman was aware of and which was nearly two hundred years old at the time for a brand-new invention of Whitman's, influenced by Emerson and growing out of Whitman's desire to offer a unique democratic religion to the America he loved.
The question, then, becomes, where is the harm in Levine's overlooking of Quakerism? If the harm is merely that Quakers are not getting their historic due, then we should refer the matter to the local Quaker meeting's Membership and Outreach committee and suggest they prepare a press release. If, however, the lack inhibits or distorts our understanding of Whitman and his poetry, then the question should be taken up by literary scholars. In this case, Levine's oversight isolates Whitman from a religious tradition that has explanatory power for the poetry. Without the intervening step of Quakerism, Whitman's divergence from mainstream Christian religious tradition seems much more dramatic, and Whitman's famous appropriation of Christ's crucifixion to all people in section 38 of "Song of Myself" becomes a democratic American gesture uninspired by either the Quaker assignation of the divine to all people which took place in England two hundred years earlier or by Elias Hicks' "heretical" and "blasphemous" denial of the doctrine that Christ ought to be worshipped as uniquely divine. I am not suggesting that Whitman's appropriation is not the democratic gesture Levine says it is, only that it is also a gesture that had been performed previously by Quakers like George Fox and Elias Hicks-and, as we shall see, Whitman well knew it.
Likewise, David Kuebrich, in a book called Minor Prophecy: Walt Whitman's New American Religion, acknowledges the Quakerism in Whitman's family tree, informing his readers that Whitman's parents and paternal grandfather were followers of Elias Hicks. However, that seems to be the limit of his understanding of Quakerism. For instance, at one point he suggests that Whitman is distrustful of ritual and "ecclesiastical institutions," but he is at a loss to explain this distrust (4). If Kuebrich had known that early Quakers did away entirely with the order of service, replacing all the rituals of the church with silent worship; got rid of appointed, paid ministers; and set up a non-hierarchical governance structure in which local meetings are autonomous and all business decisions are made by consensus of the whole body of worshippers, he might have had some glimmering of where Whitman acquired his distrust.
Where is the harm in Kuebrich's oversight? Well, it harms him, making him look a bit silly to any of his readers who happen to be Quakers or who know Quaker history, but it is also plain that, had he learned a bit about Quaker thought and practice, and put that together with the Quaker-ish milieu in which Whitman was raised, he could have begun to understand an aspect of Whitman's personality and poetry that, instead, remains a mystery to him, and, therefore, to his readers as well.
The problem appears to be that critics like Levine and Kuebrich, though they may know that there was a Quaker presence in Whitman's life, do not consider that presence significant, or are too ignorant of Quaker thought and practice to understand the ways that Quaker presence influenced Whitman, or to recognize that influence in his poetry. If the problem is ignorance, the solution must be information. I am not the first to notice that ignorance of Quakerism affects critics' readings of Whitman; others have trod this path before me, and have sought to remedy the situation by compiling and presenting the relevant information.
The most complete treatment of the subject I have found is a 1943 dissertation by Walter Fulghum, Jr., in which he first traces Whitman's biographical background, with specific attention to his family's connection with Quakerism, then lays out a summary of Elias Hicks' theology, and then draws the connections between Hicks' thought and Whitman's, dividing Whitman's life into two periods: a "materialistic" period before 1860, and a "spiritualist" period after 1860.
Before I discuss the impact of Fulghum's work and that of other critics engaged in similar projects, let me take a few moments to summarize some of Fulghum's findings. The biographical material is familiar: his mother was raised a Quaker, and his father, while not a Quaker, was an admirer of Elias Hicks. Elias Hicks was a Quaker preacher who was, reluctantly, the leader of one faction in the 1827 schism in the Religious Society of Friends, which divided the Society into Orthodox and Hicksite branches. Hicks supported traditional Quaker practices such as plain dress, refusal to take oaths, and use of plain speech, but his preaching focused always on the inner light, with an emphasis on self-reliance. This emphasis put him at odds with Orthodox Quaker leaders, who saw his emphasis on individual leadings as blasphemously detracting from scripture and from the divinity of Christ. Fulghum points out that, by dissenting from Hicks on certain points of practice, Whitman was in fact acting as a follower of Hicks by trusting his own inner guide rather than following Hicks to the letter (23). An examination of the evidence for Whitman's motivation on the points where he differs from Hicks might either support or undermine Fulghum's assertion, but it is a worthy reminder that the primacy of the inner light over "external religious aids," such as the Bible, is one of the central tenets of Hicks' theology. The others are an emphasis on practical morality (doing good works) over theology, and, perhaps more important for an understanding of Whitman, a belief in the universality of the inner light, direct and continuing revelation being something to which every individual has access (52-54).
The primacy of inner light meant, for Hicks, that believers should accept only those parts of the Bible which are confirmed by the inner light (68). The Bible then becomes a secondary, rather than primary, religious aid, and so does Jesus Christ. In traditional Christian theology, belief in the divinity of Christ, and in the resurrection of Christ, is the means by which the faithful gain access to the divine. In Hicks' theology, everyone already possesses within them the means of access to the divine, and the divinity of Jesus becomes the same as the divinity of every other human being. This divinity differs in quantity but not in kind, Jesus being seen as possessing a full measure of the light and a perfect understanding of the will of God, while the rest of us struggle under a lesser measure and a lesser understanding.
Fulghum elaborates on these basic beliefs, pointing out Hicks' anti-intellectualism (64), his anti-clericalism (65), his belief in the natural goodness of the body (according to Hicks, the passions of the body come from God and are therefore good, "when kept in proper order") (79), his disbelief in a material heaven or hell and his tendency to avoid discussions of sin in the conventional meaning of the word. For Hicks, sin meant a failure to follow the inner light (85-6).
Anyone familiar with Whitman's writings will already be recognizing some of the parallels between Hicksite thought and Whitman's beliefs. Fulghum suggests, however, that Whitman's relationship to Hicksite thought changed over the course of Whitman's life. According to Fulghum, Whitman was raised under the influence of Quakers, giving him certain propensities. Fulghum argues that the early Quaker influence prepared Whitman for some of the later influences in his life, such as Transcendentalism (8-9), but that before 1860 the Quaker influence is relatively minor itself and Whitman would not have claimed it as such (92). After 1860, however, the date that Whitman changes the names of months and days of the week in his poetry to Quaker appellations, Quakerism exerts a growing influence which later comes to dominate Whitman's thought (94).
The parallels Fulghum draws include universality: Whitman's new American religion is all-inclusive and non-sectarian. Whitman also sees the human soul as naturally gravitating toward love and "brotherhood," and his central religious idea is "the full freedom of man's divine soul" (103; 106). Even Whitman's desire to create a new American Bible had been anticipated by Hicks, who wanted to write a new Bible drawing on continuing revelation; Fulghum says that Whitman's Quaker mother had told Whitman of Hicks' desire for a new Good Book (12). For Fulghum, even the conflict Whitman experienced between naturalism and "supernaturalism," between the body and the soul, between materialism and spirituality, is eventually resolved by his evolution into essentially a Hicksite Quaker not in formal membership. Hicksite thought, Fulghum says, had modeled a union between rational and emotional truth, between the basically good impulses of the body and the careful guidance of the mind, which Whitman could draw on to resolve his own conflict about these issues (109).
There is a great deal more. Fulghum covers his topic in great detail, failing only, in his quest to draw connections, to pay adequate attention to the limits of the Hicksite influence on Whitman. Lawrence Templin remedies this in his 1970 article, "The Quaker Influence on Walt Whitman," which supports Fulghum's claims that Hicks was an important influence on Whitman's religious thought but also pays careful attention to the ways that Whitman rejected, misunderstood, or transformed Hicksite thought.
Templin draws a rough division between Hicksite theology, which Whitman embraces, and Quaker practice, which he rejected. According to Templin, Whitman saw Quaker plainness, withdrawal from worldliness, and simplicity, particularly as it was expressed in rejection of music and art, as ridiculous; he had no interest in taking up any such discipline himself (168). Templin even suggests that Whitman's failure to complete the biography of Hicks he claimed to want to write comes from Whitman's discomfort with Hicks' practice:
There is no doubt that Whitman had the material for a full-scale interpretation of Hicks, and there is no doubt that he knew what it meant to him and what he ought to do with it. But it was more than sickness that prevented him from writing on Hicks. The key is in the essay ["Elias Hicks"] itself: Whitman could dwell on the inspiration that he remembered as a boy, and on the greatness of the central message, the "over-arching thought," but he could not feel at home with the bareness of Hicks's quietism and his somber ministry. (171)
Templin also suggests that Whitman was not capable of understanding Hicks' lack of ambition. He quotes Whitman, speaking in reference to Hicks, suggesting that Hicks was personally ambitious and liked the idea of creating a sect that would bear his name. On the contrary, Templin says: Hicks was pained by the separation and by the attention it drew to him. "Whitman could understand the central message of Hicks," Templin says, "but he gives no evidence of being able to understand or to appreciate the self-denying discipline out of which that message grew" (172). Nor would any reader of Whitman suggest that his own effort to write an American Bible and found a New American Religion had anything of self-denial about it.
Templin's reading is useful for tempering the enthusiasm of a writer like Fulghum, who sees the Quaker influence infiltrating every cranny of Whitman's life. It's not that Fulghum fudges exactly; his arguments are convincing and seldom strain the evidence. But he rarely presents the evidence con, and passes over it quickly when he does; Templin gives that evidence the attention it deserves. These two works in combination offer a thorough and balanced overview both of Hicksite thought and Whitman's relationship to it. And even tempered by Templin's reading, the evidence for the importance of Hicksite Quaker thought to the development of Whitman's religious thought is strong and convincing.
The impact of these works, however, seems small. I was not able to find any evidence that Fulghum was able to publish his dissertation as a book (despite the prevailing myth that up until my generation of graduate students, "everybody's" dissertations were published). I have found Templin cited in some other critical works, but in general the pattern that Fulghum described sixty years ago still holds: some critics and biographers think the Quaker influence on Whitman is very important; others think it hardly bears mentioning. Tellingly, Fulghum suggests in a footnote that the breakdown divides Quaker critics from non-Quaker critics (2). Not surprisingly, Quaker critics, Fulghum included, tend to assign greater importance to the Quaker influence.
I am a Quaker critic, as well, and something of a cheerleader for the Quakers-are-important position, but when I read Fulghum's dissertation, and to a lesser extent Templin's article, their lack of impact on the wider community of scholars didn't seem surprising. I don't mean that the work is bad. I doubt that anyone, undertaking the task Fulghum set himself, could do a more thorough job or arrange the information more effectively. But Fulghum's dissertation is little more than a collection of facts, and even I, prejudiced toward his conclusion, found myself shrugging when I had finished reading it, and saying to myself, "Well, there's the case for Hicks and Whitman-but so what?" Likewise, Templin undertakes to examine the Quaker influence on Whitman, saying, "The relationship has not, I think, been fully summarized and explored for the light it sheds on Whitman's work as a creative artist" (166). Unfortunately, Templin fails to shed that light.
The problem seems to be that facts in and of themselves have little explanatory power, and neither of these writers constructs a case for why other critics should apply their work. Even when Templin and Fulghum bring Whitman's poetry into their writing, they tend to use it as evidence for the Quaker influence, rather than using their knowledge of Quakerism to shed new light on the poetry, and the result is a kind of tautological proof of correlation that is of some interest but hardly fires the imagination.
In addition, the popular perception of Quakers is that, like other plain people, they are peripheral to the broader culture-indeed, that they made themselves peripheral by rejecting worldliness. Bruce Dorsey, a historian at Swarthmore College, points out that even among Quakers, the Hicksite schism is seen as "an isolated event within a small sect whose numbers were declining" (397); in other words, of little relevance. In Awash in a Sea of Faith, a history of the "christianization" of American, Jon Butler tends to portray Quakers as influenced by, rather than influencing, religious thought. For instance, he describes an eighteenth century reformation among Quakers, during which the sect tightened its discipline, requiring of members that they withdraw from society and return to the strictures of early Quakerism. Butler describes this reformation as typical among churches of the time, many of which were solidifying institutional authority through coercion from church elites (127).
Whitman's cultural context included the influence of Transcendentalism, anxiety about the state of the Union, a growing rationalism and emphasis on empiricism and scientific method as the sources of knowledge, and a deliberate effort to create literature, art, and religion which were uniquely American rather than following Anglo-European models. Each of those elements has enormous explanatory power with regard to Whitman's poetry, and it is no wonder, therefore, that the influence of a sect which, if people know anything about it at all, is often perceived to be out of the mainstream of culture, and on the decline during Whitman's day, is overlooked or considered to be unimportant.
However, some historians are making the case that the history of Quakerism is interwoven with the broader history of the United States, and is of more importance to American culture than is often acknowledged. Bruce Dorsey suggests that the Hicksite schism in Quakerism was not strictly an internal issue, but was partly precipitated by the rise of evangelical reform societies during the Second Great Awakening in the early nineteenth century. Hicksite Quakers tended to prefer to remain insulated from other religious influences, and did not join mixed benevolent societies, although they often formed benevolent societies of their own (402). Orthodox Quakers were more willing to join mixed societies, and, although they did so in very small numbers, Hicksite Quakers often accused them of undermining the unique ministry and pure practice of Quakerism. Tensions over this issue contributed to the schism, illustrating, according to Dorsey, that outside pressures, as well as purely internal issues, were at work in the division.
In turn, the rise of benevolent societies, both Friends-only and mixed, in the wider society of Philadelphia, provided a conduit for the Quaker tradition of benevolent work to become more visible and more influential outside the Society. Quaker involvement and leadership in the women's rights and abolitionist movements, for instance, is well-documented. Dorsey suggests that Quakers exerted a growing historical significance during this era although their numbers did not increase (427). Stephen Kent and James Spickard go even further, suggesting that there is an American tradition of activism that depends on Quakerism for its inspiration and model. Drawing on Digby Baltzell's work in Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia, they suggest that there is a model of activism "within the system" which draws on Puritan beliefs. These beliefs include the ideas that the institutions of government are divinely inspired, that God works through institutions, and that worldly needs can outweigh a religious leading, for instance in the case of civilly-mandated killing, which can override a personal leading away from killing. Quakers, on the other hand, tend to distrust institutions, and to believe in religious perfectibility, so that individual leadings outweigh civil concerns. These beliefs led Quakers to benevolent and activist activities outside of, and sometimes in opposition to, civil structures, and this Quaker model is, according to Kent and Spickard, the model followed by later civil rights and social change movements.
If these scholars can be believed, then Quakerism is not a marginal religion, but a minority religion which interacts with the wider culture, influencing it and being influenced by it. This suggests that an altered perspective is needed with regard to the ways that Quakerism could have influenced Whitman and his interaction with his culture.
Consider David Reynolds' treatment of Whitman's religious influences in Beneath the American Renaissance. "It is well known," he writes, "that Whitman's Quaker background powerfully influenced his sensibility" (24), a questionable claim but important here in that, along with a reference to the inner light, this is as much attention as Reynolds gives it. He goes on to say that "it is also well known that Emerson's writings...gave Whitman a powerful impetus toward his poem" (24). These two influences are so well-known, Reynolds argues, that he dispenses with both of them together in half a paragraph. He goes on to say that what has been overlooked in understanding Whitman is the influence of popular religion, especially the "evangelical sermon style" popular at the time.
Reynolds' claim that the Quaker influence is well-known, but his failure to treat it any further, suggests to me that he, like Kuebrich earlier, is content to acknowledge the influence without exploring its implications. Also, he marks a sharp division between Quaker religion and "popular" religion, suggesting that, like many, he sees Quakerism as marginal and irrelevant to broader religious culture. He goes on to list Elias Hicks as one of the "evangelical" preachers Whitman loved to hear, and whose oratorical style influenced Whitman's poetic style, without mentioning that Hicks was a Quaker. In other words, Reynolds' own text contains evidence of the interrelationship between Quaker religious culture and "popular" religious culture. He lists Hicks, a Quaker, alongside influential preachers of other denominations, he implies that Hicks had a stylistic affinity to other popular preachers of the day, and he places Hicks in a broader oratorical tradition, yet Reynolds fails to notice the connection he is making between a Quaker phenomenon and a broader cultural phenomenon.
Reynolds also fails, as many critics do, to explore the interrelationship of Transcendentalism and Quakerism. Reynolds' setting up of the two in opposition to, or at least separate from, each other is fairly typical; even writers exploring the Quaker influence on Whitman tend to see the two strains of thought as similar but independent. However, Quaker thought influenced Emerson, the godfather of Transcendentalism, as well. Frederick Tolles traces the influence, quoting Emerson as describing himself as "more of a Quaker than anything else" (142) and Quakers-at their best-as "nearer to the sublime history and genius of Christ than any other of the sects" (146). Further, Tolles reports that the relationship between Transcendentalism and Quakerism was commonly acknowledged by thinkers of the day, including Thoreau, and that Emerson's Quakerly tendencies were often commented on by his friends (150). Tolles also suggests that Emerson's path parallels that of the early Quakers. Quakerism, he says, was both an extension of Puritanism and a revolt against it, taking the purification of the church and the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers farther than Puritanism had taken it, while at the same time reacting against the rigidity that had developed in Puritanism. Emerson's gesture exactly duplicates this, Tolles says: Emerson "turned his back upon his Puritan inheritance" but "took that inheritance as a point of departure from which to continue on the old road of nonconformity along which his Puritan ancestors had started" (144-5).
Tolles is careful to conclude his essay by cautioning that the Quaker influence was only one influence among many for Emerson, but to the extent that Emerson was influenced by Quakerism he serves as another conduit by which Quaker thought reaches Whitman. Also, the Quaker influence on Emerson illustrates Quakerism's interrelationship with intellectual culture, Quakerism serving in this case as one of the foundations from which a better-known tradition springs.
To be fair to Reynolds, he gives more attention to Quakerism in Walt Whitman's America. He identifies Hicks as a Quaker and as a particular influence on Whitman, and duplicates Bliss Forbush's division of some lines from a Hicks sermon into poetic lines that evoke the rhythms of Whitman's poetry, suggesting that Hicks had a particular role among the many orators whose speaking style Whitman absorbed and imitated:
And the law of God is written in every heart, and it is there that he manifests himself:
And in infinite love, according to our necessities, states and conditions,
And as we are all various and different from one another, more or less,
So the law by the immediate operation of divine grace in the soul,
Is suited to every individual according to his condition. (Forbush 164; Reynolds 38)
Reynolds also demonstrates Whitman's relationship to other aspects of culture which can be related to Quakerism. For instance, he cites Whitman's Quaker background as predisposing him to sympathy for the women's rights movement, Quakers being "the most progressive of America's larger religious denominations" and Whitman's own ancestry being full of strong Quaker women (218-19). Reynolds also points out, as few feminist scholars bother to do,* that many leaders of the women's rights movement, and organizers of the Seneca Falls convention which inaugurated it, were Quakers. He describes Whitman as having a particular affinity for Lucretia Mott, a feminist leader and Hicksite Quaker (219). Here again, as with Transcendentalism, we see Whitman responding to a cultural strain which is influenced by Quakerism, and may therefore communicate its Quaker influence to him, or reinforce his own existing Quaker tendencies.
Reynolds also suggests that the Hicksite separation was "strongly nationalistic and working-class"; he construes Hicks as "the plainspoken American [who] stood up against the London-based orthodox Quaker establishment" (38). I haven't come across that formulation of the schism elsewhere, but it is intriguing. Here, Reynolds suggests that the Quaker trait of plain speech is also an American trait, and constructs an understanding of the Hicksite schism which places it squarely in the context of the drive to separate American religion and culture from its colonial Anglo-European roots. Again we see, sketched in a few suggestive sentences, Quakerism paralleling and interacting with the broader cultural issues of the time.
Reynolds' work in Walt Whitman's America suggests that a still closer look at the interrelationship of Whitman, Quakerism, and culture might be productive. Reynolds touches on Quakerism only briefly and on only two or three occasions in the book, but I suspect, based on the historical readings by Dorsey and Kent and Spickard, that there are other places where he could have considered the question had he been led to do so.
The picture that begins to emerge from all of this is as follows: That Whitman was influenced by Hicksite Quaker thought is undeniable. This influence is important and broad, but limited in certain ways, particularly in Whitman's unwillingness to follow the discipline of Quaker practice. This influence is also one among many, but interweaves with other influences like Transcendentalism so that the various influences are difficult to separate, and reinforce each other. Quakerism also influences the broader culture in ways that are not often recognized, promoting an independent, self-reliant relationship of the individual to government, as in the many social movements Quakers participated in, and also interacting with the religious revival movements of the nineteenth century.
I would propose then, that the mere fact that Whitman's religious thinking bears a great affinity to that of Elias Hicks is less significant than the idea that Quakerism interacted in complex ways with nineteenth-century American culture, and that Whitman was implicated in that interaction in ways that bear further examination.
Baltzell, E. Digby. Puritan Boston and Quaker Philadelphia: Two Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of Class Authority and Leadership. New York: Free Press, 1979.
Butler, Jon. Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1990.
Dorsey, Bruce. "Friends Becoming Enemies: Philadelphia Benevolence and the Neglected Era of American Quaker History." Journal of the Early Republic 18.3 (1998): 395-428.
Forbush, Bliss. Elias Hicks: Quaker Liberal. New York: Columbia UP, 1956.
Fulghum, Walter Benjamin Jr. "Quaker Influences on Whitman's Religious Thought." Diss. Northwestern University, 1943.
Kent, Stephen A., and James V. Spickard. "The 'Other' Civil Religion and the Tradition of Radical Quaker Politics." Journal of Church and State 36 (1994): 373-87.
Kuebrich, David. Minor Prophecy: Walt Whitman's New American Religion. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989.
Levine, Herbert J. "'Song of Myself' as Whitman's American Bible." MLQ 48 (1987): 145-161.
Miller, James E., Jr. A Critical Guide to Leaves of Grass. Chicago: U of Chicago Press, 1957.
Reynolds, David S. Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1988.
-----. Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography. New York: Knopf, 1996.
Templin, Lawrence. "The Quaker Influence on Walt Whitman." American Literature 42.2 (1970): 165-180.
Tolles, Frederick B. "Emerson and Quakerism." American Literature X (May 1938): 142-165.
Whitman, Walt. "Notes (such as they are) founded on Elias Hicks." The Complete Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman. New York: Pellegrini & Cudahy, 1948. 469-487.
-----. Complete Poetry and Collected Prose. Ed. Justin Kaplan. New York: Library of America, 1982.
* All references to Whitman's poetry are to the 1892 edition as reprinted in the 1982 Library of America Complete Poetry and Collected Prose.
* I earned an A.B. in Women's Studies without learning this fact.
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