Books: Redskin from Brooklyn

THE SOLITARY SINGER (616 pp.)—Gay Wilson Alien—Macmillian ($8).

When Walt Whitman's Drum Taps, a book of Civil War poems, appeared in 1865, a 22-year-old reviewer named Henry James laced into the good grey poet. "To become adopted as a national poet," wrote young James, "it is not enough to discard everything in particular and to accept everything in general, to amass crudity upon crudity, to discharge the undigested contents of your blotting-book into the lap of the public. You must respect the public which you address; for it has taste, if you have not."...

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