Tag Archives: James McWilliams

a disappointing review of two lost Whitman works



“Two New Old Books That Show Walt Whitman’s Different Selves”

New York Times Book Review

August 30, 2017


hi, Zack —

This review by Ted Genoways  is okay, but nothing more. Why did it take the NYTBR so long to review [two hitherto lost works by Walt Whitman] “The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle” and “Manly Health and Training”?

I thoroughly disagree with James McWilliams (“Against Rediscovery: Why the ‘Lost Novel’ Phenomenon Hurts Readers,” Paris Review, May 22, 2017). In the case of a Whitman or James Joyce, the discovery of a lost work or fragment, or of a lost letter, is cause for rejoicing.

I also feel that Genoways gives Whitman’s lost works “Jack Engle” and “Manly Health and Training,” which you have unearthed — remarkably — shorter shrift than they deserve.


Best wishes,

Roger Smith

email to Zachary Turpin, September 3, 2017