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 as a stump speaker in Queens County and even in New York City. Then, in the summer of 1841, he definitely and finally threw in his lot with the city, and the second important period of his development began. Heretofore the highly sensitive youth had been almost ladylike in his sentiments, often morbid in his contrary moods, but puritanically strict in word and deed. At twenty-two his passionate nature demanded a sort of reaction. He ‘sounded all experiences of life, with all their passions, pleasures, and abandonments,’1 and became, in another sphere of indulgence, something of a dandy. He was developing his personality meanwhile, and he was learning to write. Whitman's early pieces written in New York reflect the wave of sentimentality which was, in the forties, sweeping over the country, and display, along with their humanitarian feeling, a fondness for melodramatic extravagance which caused him later to wish them all ‘quietly dropp'd in oblivion.’ He was a reformer pleading for the abolition of intemperance (including the use of tobacco, tea, and coffee), of capital punishment, and of slavery; and urging, as the constructive side of his reform, the need of a native American drama, opera, and literature. His interest in the theatre and the opera was a vital one, the constant satisfaction of which was made possible by his having a pressman's pass. Here he received many hints for his declamatory and rhythmical style of verse. Altogether more than a score of tales, sketches, essays, and poems have been found which belong to this period. To these must be added a crude and hasty dime novelette, Franklin Evans ,2 addressed, in the cause of temperance, not to the ‘critics’ but to ‘the people,’ and evidently written to order. In this period Whitman was connected with some of the best city magazines and newspapers as contributor, compositor, or editor. The most important position that he held was that of editor of The daily
2 This was republished, in compressed form, under the caption Fortunes of a country boy, by J. R. S. in The Brooklyn Eagle (November, 1846) as an ‘original novel.’ Death in the School Room, The Child's Champion, Little Jane, The Death of Wind-Foot, and a few poems were similarly twice published by Whitman, in the lax fashion of the day. See Bibliography.
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