Emory Holloway

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Rufus Emory Holloway (March 16, 1885 in Marshall, Missouri – July 30, 1977 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)[1] is an American literary scholar-educator most known for his books and studies of Walt Whitman. His Whitman: An Interpretation in Narrative (1926)[2] was the first biography of a literary figure to win the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in 1927.[3]


Holloway received his A.B. from Hendrix College in 1906, and his M.A. from the University of Texas in 1912. While studying at Columbia University in 1913-1914 his interest in Whitman was encouraged by John Erskine, causing him to author the Whitman essay for The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. In 1914 Holloway became an instructor at Adelphi College, and assistant professor in 1916. During World War I he was a transportation secretary with the American Expeditionary Force in France, and taught at the A.E.F. University[4] in Beaune for one year. Returning to Adelphi, he became professor of English in 1919 and remained there until 1937. In 1937 he became one of the original faculty of Queens College, City University of New York) as an associate professor of American literature and chair of the English department; in 1954 he became professor emeritus.

The Uncollected Poetry and Prose of Walt Whitman (2 vols.) (1921),[5] which took seven years established Holloway's reputation. His work resulted in a comprehensive body of resource materials and brought a much clearer understanding of Whitman's private thought and personal relationships, revealing his creative process.

Whitman: An Interpretation in Narrative (1926)[6] pioneered the use of cinema-style narrative techniques in a biography, making it popular with the general public. In Whitman as a Subject for Biography (1974),[7] Holloway says about it: "My aim was to present an interpretation through a method primarily narrative, yet relying heavily on Whitman's self-revelations."

Free and Lonesome Heart: The Secret of Walt Whitman (1960)[8] is a reply to critics who had charged him with ignoring evidence of Whitman's sexual orientation and behavior, laying out the controversy surrounding Whitman's "simple homosexual" disposition in the context of the disputed interpretation of "Once I Passed Through a Populous City", developing an extensive apologetic on Whitman's use of paradox and on the necessity for a poet to embody both male and female natures: "The key word in the comprehension of Whitman is 'balance'."

Holloway's last biographical work Portrait of a Poet: The Life of Walt Whitman (1962) was considered too lengthy for publication. It repeats much of the argument of Free and Lonesome Heart and includes detailed appendices supporting his positions.

Holloway died in 1977.

Web sources[edit]

  1. ^ "WhitmanIntroductionEH". libraries.adelphi.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  2. ^ Holloway, Emory (1926-01-01). Whitman: an interpretation in narrative. A.A. Knopf. 
  3. ^ "WhitmanIntroductionEH". libraries.adelphi.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  4. ^ Anthropology, Museum of. "Orders: Western Front Experience - American Expeditionary Forces University Barracks - Hezzie Goes to War - J.H. Pattrick Historical Collection - Museum of Anthropology - University of Missouri-Columbia". anthromuseum.missouri.edu. Retrieved 2016-03-24. 
  5. ^ Whitman, Walt; Holloway, Emory (1921-01-01). The uncollected poetry and prose of Walt Whitman, much of which has been but recently discovered. Garden City, N.Y., Toronto, Doubleday, Page & Company. 
  6. ^ Holloway, Emory (1926-01-01). Whitman: an interpretation in narrative. A.A. Knopf. 
  7. ^ Holloway, Emory (1974-01-01). Whitman as a Subject for Biography. Kindle Press. 
  8. ^ Holloway, Emory (1960-01-01). Free and Lonesome Heart: The Secret of Walt Whitman. Vantage Press.