Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Editor and Colonel

A prolific writer frequently published in the Atlantic Monthly, "a magazine of literature, art, and politics," Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) corresponded with Emily Dickinson for nearly 25 years and critiqued Walt Whitman several times in the public forum of the printed essay. Liberal in many of his political opinions, advocating for the disenfranchised, Higginson was an abolitionist; in the Civil War, he was a Union Colonel. Dickinson's letters to him show that Higginson called her wayward, dark, uncontrolled, and tameless in taste. His evaluation of Whitman was conventional: "It is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote Leaves of Grass,' only that he did not burn it afterwards. A young writer must commonly plough his first crop" ("Literature as Art"). Though he is most famous for his correspondence with Dickinson, he gave each significant attention.

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