Books: Baffled Critic

WALT WHITMAN'S POSE—Esther Shephard—Earcourt, Brace ($3.75).

In his early life Walt Whitman was a conventional poet of modest gifts, a Brooklyn editor, author of a dull temperance novel, a Democrat, a radical. In the Civil War, after years of drifting, he found himself, and for a brief period became the great spokesman for the spirit of radical humanitarianism. But the exact steps of his transformation are not known and even the biographical details of his life are confused, as Whitman apparently intended they should be.

Last week Mrs. Esther Shephard (Paul Bunyan) advanced a new...

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