Research Programs: Scholarly Editions and Translations

Period of Performance

7/1/2008 - 6/30/2011

Funding Totals

$300,000.00 (approved)
$300,000.00 (awarded)

Walt Whitman's Civil War Writings

FAIN: RQ-50338-08

University of Nebraska, Lincoln (Lincoln, NE 68503-2427)
Kenneth Price (Project Director: November 2007 to April 2016)

A comprehensive electronic edition of Walt Whitman's Civil War writings. (36 months)

The Walt Whitman Archive will create a comprehensive edition of the Civil War writings of Walt Whitman, probably the most important literary interpreter of this conflict. Support from the National Endowment for the Humanities will allow us to complete this work by 2011, in time for the observance of the sesquicentennial of the outbreak of the War. The War profoundly shaped Leaves of Grass, the first masterpiece of American poetry, and Whitman extensively depicted and analyzed the Civil War in journals, notebooks, letters, essays, journalism, memoirs, and manuscript drafts. We will electronically edit, arrange, and publish -- often for the first time -- the hundreds of documents that give voice to Whitman's experience of the war. In addition to making these documents freely available, our work will help to model for other scholars best practices in creating, publishing, and sustaining electronic editions.

Media Coverage

"Walt Whitman's Civil War Records Unveiled." (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Associated Press
Publication: Washington Post, ABC News
Date: 4/12/2011
Abstract: Reports on Kenneth M. Price’s discovery of nearly three thousand documents that Whitman copied while working in the Attorney General’s office from 1865 to 1873

Associated Products

"Civil War Washington, the Walt Whitman Archive, and Some Present Editorial Challenges and Future Possibilities" (Article)
Title: "Civil War Washington, the Walt Whitman Archive, and Some Present Editorial Challenges and Future Possibilities"
Author: Kenneth M. Price
Abstract: The theoretical possibilities of digital scholarship oblige us to boldness—we ought to see our current circumstances, when electronic scholarship is still nascent and the boundaries are still capable of being moved, as an invitation to push those boundaries. More than most types of humanistic study, editing has been significantly affected by the digital turn, though perhaps even editing has not been sufficiently altered. The monumental scholarly edition, our marvelous inheritance from print culture, still tends to focus on individual figures. Generally speaking, editing work in American literary and historical studies focuses on canonical writers and political leaders—that is, on white male writers and the founding fathers and other prominent political figures. Yet these emphases run counter to an ongoing revisionist trend in both fields—in literary studies the standing of the author has been questioned, cultural studies has flourished, and the canon has dramatically expanded, while in history a bottom-up view of change and significance has led in recent decades to an emphasis on social history (and of course a de-emphasis on "great men"). A focus on individual writers or political figures need hardly be the focus of editorial efforts, of course. Electronic editing would, in fact, be more congruent with recent developments in the humanities disciplines generally if it were to evolve away from solely writer-based approaches to accommodate topic-based approaches that employ a tightly integrated combination of editing, collecting, interpreting, and tool building.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Access Model: open access
Format: Other
Periodical Title: Jerome McGann, ed., Online Humanities Scholarship: The Shape of Things to Come (Houston: Rice University Press, 2010), 287-309.
Publisher: Rice University Press