Before he became America's most famous poet, Walt Whitman tried his hand at fiction.
Three years before publishing his landmark first book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman anonymously published a short novel: "The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, an Auto-Biography," which appeared “unsigned, practically unheralded and riddled with typographical errors” in 1852.
The novel-- a novella, really-- came out serialized in six parts in the New York Sunday Dispatch... and disappeared. The only copy still known to exist anywhere is the archive copy in the Library of Congress in Washington.
Until now. Want to read it? The novel has been published for free online by the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review.