By Deb A.
Avoid sweets, wear sneakers, and get moving. And don't eat your vegetables.
Walt Whitman has long been considered one of America's greatest poets, but only recently has he posthumously joined the ranks of recognised self-help gurus. The discovery of his 47,000-word treatise, Manly Health and Training, With Off-Hand Hints Toward Their Conditions has thrilled Whitman experts and entertained his fans.
The series was written under his pseudonym Mose Velsor during the late 1850s, a time when he was preparing the third edition of "Leaves of Grass" and, as the New York Times points out, "probably working on the poems of homoerotic love that are central to the Whitman we know today." His poems of that time are celebrated for their sensuousness, but his straightforward catalogue of advice for men is also a pleasure to read.
Whitman believed that a sound body was a prerequisite for a sound mind, explaining that "out of health and a fine physique, would arise an immensely greater development of morality and abstract good."
While some of his suggestions may strike the modern reader as a bit odd, many would still have their followers today. Here are some words of wisdom (as you will see, not all of them have stood the test of time) from the poet's 13-part series, which first appeared in the New York Atlas over a century ago and is now available in its entirety online thanks to Iowa Research Online.
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