Pratt Podcasts

Justin Martin, Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians

Justin Martin, Rebel Souls: Walt Whitman and America's First Bohemians

In the shadow of the Civil War, a circle of radicals in a rowdy saloon changed American society and helped set Walt Whitman on the path to poetic immortality.

Rebel Souls is the first book ever written about the colorful group of artists -- regulars at Pfaff's Saloon in Manhattan -- rightly considered America' original Bohemians. Besides a  young Walt Whitman, the circle included actor Edwin Booth;  trailblazing stand-up comic Artemus Ward; psychedelic drug pioneer and author Fitz Hugh Ludlow; and the brazen Adah Menken, who achieved worldwide fame for her "Naked Lady" routine. Author Justin Martin shows how this first bohemian culture -- imported from Paris to a dingy Broadway saloon -- seeded and nurtured an American tradition of rebel art that thrives to this day.

Justin Martin is the author of three previous books, most recently Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted.

Recorded On: Wednesday, October 15, 2014