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Born in 1819: Whitman, Melville and Ward Howe

Elaine Showalter, Michael Schmidt, Peter Riley and Katie McGettigan with Laurence Scott on the 19th-century writers who shaped the idea of America.

Elaine Showalter, Michael Schmidt, Peter Riley and Katie McGettigan with Laurence Scott on the 19th-century writers who shaped the idea of America.

1819 was the year that Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Julia Ward Howe were born. Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Melville's novels Moby Dick and The Confidence Man and Julia Ward Howe's passionate opposition to slavery and her advocacy of women's suffrage gave birth to the idea of America. But these authors also have a connection with England - a reading group in Bolton dedicated to Whitman, Melville's visit to Liverpool and Julia Ward Howe's encounters with Browning, the Wordsworths and Oscar Wilde.

Katie McGettigan is the author of Herman Melville: Modernity and the Material Text
Peter Riley's most recent book is Whitman, Melville, Crane and the Labours of American Poetry
Elaine Showalter is the author of the biography The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe
Michael Schmidt is one of the founders of Carcanet Press

You can find more information about research and events @Born1819
Listen back to or download the Free Thinking/BBC Arts& Ideas discussion about Ruskin, Bazalgette and Arthur Hugh Clough https://bbc.in/2TLoOfA

Producer: Zahid Warley

Main image: L-R Peter Riley, Katie McGettigan, presenter Laurence Scott and Michael Schmidt in the Free Thinking studio (Elaine Showalter was in Washington).

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