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Free and Lonesome Heart: The Secret of Walt Whitman

Holloway, Emory. Free and Lonesome Heart: The Secret of Walt Whitman. New York: Vantage Press, 1960.
biography, literary criticism

People Mentioned in this Work

Beach, Juliette [pages:110-111,115]

Holloway rules out Beach as a candidate for "Ellen Eyre"; although she may have visited Pfaff's Beach did not have a home in the city as "Ellen Eyre" claimed to. Also, the writer's invitation to Whitman to make himself at home at her house would have been an inappropriate gesture from a married society woman who would have been aware of social convention.

Clapp, Henry [pages:109,110,111]

Clapp is described as the "King of Bohemia" and Whitman's "avowed champion."

Clare, Ada [pages:84,109,115,165]

Clapp feels that Clare could not have written the "Ellen Eyre" letter because she does not fit the profile of a woman seeking to remain anonymous and who was concerned with her reputation.

Ada Clare gave a "A Child's Reminscence" a positive review when it was published in The Saturday Press Her 42nd St. address is recorded twice in Whitman's notebooks. Clare met with Whitman's disapproval when she was not only unconventional but also when she was inconsiderate. Holloway indicates that she must have interacted with Whitman in several venues: her home, Pfaff's, and the New York Leader.

Stoddard followed her to Honolulu.

Eyre, Ellen [pages:113-115]

Holloway reprints her letter and speculates about the identity of the author. Holloway rules out Ada Clare, Lola Montez, Mrs. Parton, Mrs. Beach, Adah Isaacs Menken, and the woman who inspired a poem published October 1861 as candidates for "Ellen Eyre." Holloway feels that "Ellen Eyre" must be a psuedonym because a real name would have been lost.

Menken, Adah [pages:109-110,115]

Ruled out as "Ellen Eyre" because she had recently married the editor of the Sunday Dispatch. Menken was a possible candidate for author of the letter because she was an admirer of Whitman when she was Swinburne's lover.

She may have written an enthusiastic reivew of the third edition of Leaves of Grass for the Sunday Mercury. Menken also mentioned Whitman in her column in the Mercury, "Swimming Against the Current," June 10, 1860. Menken also stole a line from "Song of Myself" for one of her poems.

Menken is mentioned as a friend of Ada Clare. Holloway gives the name Heenan as another last name for Menken. Her prizefighter husband accidently killed their baby when he was drunk.

Montez, Lola [pages:109,115]
The Saturday Press [pages:109,110]
Sweeney, Frank [pages:113-114]
Whitman, Walt [pages:88,109-111,113-116,118, 191(n26)]

Holloway reprints an editorial from 1858 that blames bohemianism for making men bad husbands.

Holloway feels that Whitman's Pfaff's associations helped comfort him during the "quicksand years." Holloway also feels Whitman was most likely appreciated as a poet and shared a cultural background and intellectual dreams with the others. Whitman drank beer at Pfaff's but seems to have liked Washington beer better. He is sometimes addressed in letters as "Prince of Bohemia." Holloway also claims that Whitman worked at the New York Leader at the same time as Ada Clare.

The group at Pfaff's did not remain unaffected by the war, and this created irreparable problems in the dynamics of the group.

Wilkins, Edward (Ned) [pages:109]

Whitman mentions in a notebook having run into Wilkins at Ada Clare's home.