An American Primer - Classic Reprint Author:Walt Whitman FOREWORD The American Primer is a challenge rather than a finished fight. We find Whitman on this occasion rather laying his plans than undertaHng to perfect them. It would be unfair to take such a mass of more or less disjointed notes and pass them under severe review. Whitman never intended them for publication. He should not be criticised, as... more » he has been by certain American editors, for an act for which he is in no way responsible. The Primer is not a dogma. It is an inter-rogation. Even as a dogma something might be said for it. As a question it intimates its own answer. One of Whitman's remarks about it was this: " It does not suggest the invention but describes the growth of an American English enjoying a distinct identity" Whitman would every now and then get on his financial uppers. Then he would say: *' I guess I will be driven to the lecture field in spite of myself" The Primer was one of his projected lecture themes. The lecture idea had possessed him most convincingly
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