My Book World
This alternately erudite and yet expressive book is enjoyable on a number of levels. If readers are acquainted with both Doty’s prose and poetry, they know that not a word is out of place or mischosen in any way. Doty’s book is divided into five parts each exploring a facet by which readers might find a way into Walt Whitman’s era, his life, and his poetry. It might be used as a textbook for teaching Whitman, at least as an ancillary source. I am now inspired to go to my shelves and reach for that volume of Whitman, whose work I have only touched the surface of. Intertwined with Doty’s exegeses of Whitman’s work are bits and pieces of Doty’s own life and how, as his title suggests, Whitman’s life and work have influenced him.
I have only one complaint, and that is with W. W. Norton. I’m not a copyeditor, and I don’t look for typographical errors when I read, but at least ten jumped out at me, from subject-verb agreement to putting a space between text and an em dash to repeating two words in a row that should not be repeated. One sentence had the verb agreeing with the object of the preposition instead of the actual subject. Pages 45, 106, 115, 134, 150, 154, 174, 231, 254, 269—in case others should like to find them for themselves. These errors are not the responsibility of the author. Shame on Norton—the last independent press in America. To say the least, the company has done better.
NEXT FRIDAY: My Book World | Zadie Smith's Swing Time