University of Iowa Press
Lindsay Tuggle’s The Afterlives of Specimens offers a provocative, interdisciplinary analysis of Walt Whitman’s Civil War writings that examines the intersection of science and cultural mourning practices in a literary frame. Tuggle posits that Whitman’s books collected and commemorated soldiers in ways deeply influenced by nineteenth-century practices of botany, medicine, autopsy, embalming, and museum curation, the histories of which she explores with good specific evidence. She also provides new readings of Leaves of Grass and some of Whitman’s prose using theoretical apparatus provided by Nicholas Abraham, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, Sigmund Freud, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Maria Took. Tuggle argues that “Whitman’s specimens inhabit the threshold between scientific exploration and melancholic attachment, embodying the intimacy of mourning in the face of anonymity and dismemberment (9).”
Purcell, Sarah J.
"The Afterlives of Specimens: Science, Mourning, and Whitman’s Civil War,"
Civil War Book Review: Vol. 21
Available at: https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/cwbr/vol21/iss2/21