“Mr. Whitman’s attitude seems monstrous. It is monstrous because it pretends to persuade the soul while it slights the intellect; because it pretends to gratify the feelings while it outrages the taste…Our hearts are often touched through a compromise with the artistic sense but never in direct violation of it.”
“Incapable of true poetical originality, Whitman had the cleverness to invent a literary trick, and the shrewdness to stick to it.”
Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.