TEACHER'S GUIDE: COMPREHENSION
The following description of Walt Whitman's life contains 15 inaccuracies.
Walt Whitman was born in New York City in 1819. As a teenager he worked for several newspapers in and around New York; he also worked as a schoolteacher and a printer. In 1848 he moved to New Orleans to write poetry. Later that year he returned to Brooklyn and founded a pro-slavery newspaper. His book of poetry, Leaf of Grass, appeared in 1855. It was unique both in its subjects, such as the body and the self, and its elaborate rhymes. Ralph Waldo Emerson, the leading literary figure of the era, praised Whitman highly, as did many other reviewers. Whitman published a new edition of the book in 1860 containing poems that he hoped would help prevent the Mexican War.
When war came anyway in 1862, Whitman encountered wounded soldiers after visiting a battlefield in search of his brother, who was in the Confederate Army. He spent considerable time during the war visiting army hospitals in Washington, DC to comfort the soldiers. Several times he also saw President Lincoln, whom he strongly disliked. When Lincoln was assassinated shortly before the war's end in 1865, Whitman wrote a poem honoring him, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd."
After the war, no more editions of Leaf of Grass were published during Whitman's lifetime. His health began declining in the 1880s, and in 1892 he died. His book of poems sells almost as many copies each year today as it did when it was first published.