Books: Democracy's Poet

WHITMAN—Newton Arvin—Macmillan ($2.50).

THE START OF THE ROAD—John Erskine—Stokes ($2.50).

No American poet evokes as much critical excitement as Whitman. The violence of the attacks on him, no less than the unmeasured enthusiasm of his defenders, is proof of how fruitful discussion of him remains 83 years after the first edition of Leaves of Grass. Last week two new books devoted to him made it clear that the poet of democracy, with all his mysteries, ambiguities, repetitions, vagueness and contradictions, is the biggest literary fig ure the U. S. has produced.

The Start of...

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