Franklin Evans, or the Inebriate A Tale of the Times

ISBN-10: 0822339420

ISBN-13: 9780822339427

Edition: 2007

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Description:

Not many people know that Walt Whitman--arguably the preeminent American poet of the nineteenth century--began his literary career as a novelist. "Franklin Evans, or The Inebriate: A Tale of the Times" was his first and only novel. Published in 1842, during a period of widespread temperance activity, it became Whitman's most popular work during his lifetime, selling some twenty thousand copies. The novel tells the rags-to-riches story of Franklin Evans, an innocent young man from the Long Island countryside who seeks his fortune in New York City. Corrupted by music halls, theaters, and above all taverns, he gradually becomes a drunkard. Until the very end of the tale, Evans's efforts to abstain fail, and each time he resumes drinking, another series of misadventures ensues. Along the way, Evans encounters a world of mores and conventions rapidly changing in response to the vicissitudes of slavery, investment capital, urban mass culture, and fervent reform. Although Evans finally signs a temperance pledge, his sobriety remains haunted by the often contradictory and unsettling changes in antebellum American culture. The editors' substantial introduction situates "Franklin Evans" in relation to Whitman's life and career, mid-nineteenth-century American print culture, and many of the developments and institutions the novel depicts, including urbanization, immigration, slavery, the temperance movement, and new understandings of class, race, gender, and sexuality. This edition includes a short temperance story Whitman published at about the same time as he did "Franklin Evans," the surviving fragment of what appears to be another unfinished temperance novel by Whitman, and atemperance speech Abraham Lincoln gave the same year that "Franklin Evans" was published.
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Book details

List price: $23.95
Copyright year: 2007
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 7/17/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 208
Size: 6.00" wide x 8.75" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Glenn Hendler  is Associate Professor and Chair in the English Department at Fordham University, where he also teaches in the American Studies Program. He is the author of  Public Sentiments: Structures of Feeling in Nineteenth-Century American Literature .

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Franklin Evans, or the Inebriate
A Tale of the Times
Supplementary Texts
The Madman
The Child and the Profligate
An Address Delivered by Abraham Lincoln Before the Springfield Washingtonian Temperance Society, at the Second Presbyterian Church, Springfield, Illinois, On the 22d Day of February, 1842
Bibliography
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