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UNL’s Ken Price to give Smithsonian talk

UNL scholar Ken Price will discuss the personal, historic and artistic forces that shaped Walt Whitman during his Civil War years in Washington, D.C., at a Smithsonian Institution program in the nation’s capital on March 20.

Price, the Hillegass University Professor of American Literature at UNL and co-director of the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, will present a talk titled “Walt Whitman and Civil War Washington.” The event is sponsored by The Smithsonian Associates, which is the largest and most esteemed museum-based continuing education program in the nation.

The session, which will take place at the Smithsonian’s S. Dillon Ripley Center, will focus on how both Whitman and the city changed in the pivotal war years and their immediate aftermath.

Whitman remade himself and his life’s work in Washington, and his experience in the city helped shape both his poetry and “Democratic Vistas,” one of the most penetrating examinations of American society ever written.

“Washington, D.C., received more wounded soldiers than any other city, and Whitman was at the epicenter of suffering, spending most of his time assisting the wounded at Armory Square Hospital, which treated the most badly wounded and had the highest death rate,” Price said.

“At a time of unprecedented maiming and killing, Whitman was engaged in the work of healing.”

At UNL, Price co-directs two major digital projects – the Walt Whitman Archive and Civil War Washington.

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