Texas graduate student discovers a Walt Whitman novel lost for more than 150 years

Travis Andrews:

For a month, Zachary Turpin “would sit there night after night, buzzing.”

The graduate student at the University of Houston had spent the past few years digging through the digitized papers of American writer Walt Whitman, which contain 40 to 50 years’ worth of his personal notes. “He was more or less a hoarder,” Turpin told The Washington Post during a phone interview.

For the unfamiliar, Whitman (1819-1892) was one the most influential poets included in the American canon. In the 1850s he popularized free verse with his magnum opus “Leaves of Grass,” which includes the famous line “I contain multitudes.” Many call him the “father of free verse.” Before his life as a poet, the New Yorker worked as a schoolteacher, journalist and novelist.