“Not that Whitman needs monuments but Canada needs Whitman!” So wrote Flora MacDonald Denison in March of 1916. The ebullient feminist who made this statement was then the owner of the “wilderness estate” of Bon Echo with its inscribed rock that dedicated the site to the “democratic ideals” of the great American poet Walt Whitman. Bon Echo is now one of Ontario’s most beautiful and popular provincial parks. Flora’s statement serves as the epitaph of Walt Whitman’s Canada.
This newly published trade paperback – 234 pages long with dozens of black-and-white illustrations and Charles Pachter’s full-colour cover painting – traces the influence of Whitman, Whitmanism, transcendentalism, theosophy, and cultural nationalism on at least three generations of Canadian artists and writers. It also describes Whitman’s visit to central and eastern Canada in the summer of 1880 which was arranged by his colleague Richard Maurice Bucke.
The compilers of this book are Cyril Greenland and John Robert Colombo. ISBN 978-1-55246-893-7. Price: $30.00. (Order through the publisher, The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box.)