In February, 2017, there was some exciting news of the kind that gratifies literary scholars everywhere.  Graduate student Zachary Turpin had discovered a lost short novel that Walt Whitman serialized anonymously in New York’s Sunday Dispatch in 1852.  The Life and Adventures of Jack Engle, as narrated by a young clerk of that name, gives impressions of New York life as Whitman experienced it before he became revered as the Good Gray Poet.  I am no Whitman scholar and have little to add to the discussion of US periodicals in the 1850s.  But as I quickly devoured the news and the novel itself, I was taken with a minor character closely related to my own research: the Spanish dancer, Inez.  Could this be a version of Lola Montez?

Photo by Robbie Hott, July 3, 2017, Lola Montez by Joseph Stieler at Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich

Photo by Robbie Hott, July 3, 2017, Lola Montez by Joseph Stieler, 1847, for Ludwig I’s Gallery of Beauties at Schloss Nymphenburg, Munich

The improbable “auto-biography” of Jack Engle now attributed to Whitman claims in the preface to be a “true story” about “familiar” people; “the main incidents were of actual occurrence,” giving “the performers in this real drama, unreal names” (Whitman, Engle 3). Clearly, the “life and adventures” of the quasi-Dickensian hero differ from Whitman’s (Walt was no orphan, for example). But Whitman might have given an unreal name to the real Lola Montez, Spanish dancer, whom I have long featured in my digital project on women’s biographies, Collective Biographies of Women or CBW (Booth).  The Irish-born adventuress who became the Countess of Landsfeld, who was buried in New York as Eliza Gilbert in 1861, has received many full-length and brief biographies. Whitman’s connection to this celebrity is not unknown, though little remarked.  She was in New York during the production of Whitman’s novella, Jack Engle.  On January 5, 1852, weeks into her first star turn in New York, she danced in Un Jour de Carneval à Seville in the role of Donna Inez (Morton 205).[1] Then, after controversial appearances in Boston, Hartford, and elsewhere, she appeared at the Broadway Theatre in Lola Montez in Bavaria, a play in five acts recounting her famous alliance with King Ludwig I and the rebellions and backlash that led to the king’s abdication (“The Danseuse, the Politician, The Countess, the Revolutionist and finally the Fugitive”; Morton 218). Whitman could easily have seen her reprise of this play at the Bowery Theatre on 28 June, or could have attended one of her benefit performances that spring, as Jack attends Inez’s benefit performance in the novella. Certainly Whitman and Montez coincided when she was back in New York six years later and they frequented Pfaff’s, Whitman’s bohemian hangout after first publication of Leaves of Grass (Lehigh University).

These enterprising mid-century figures have more interesting qualities in common than coinciding in New York in certain years.  Her defiant self-making is not out of keeping with his celebration of the body.  Notably, during their shared New York-bohemian years, both published highly gendered self-help.  Manly Health and Training, an advice book by “Mose Velsor,” was serialized in the New York Atlas in 1858, and Zachary Turpin recently discovered Whitman’s authorship (Velsor).  The Arts of Beauty: or Secrets of a Lady’s Toilet (New York: Dick & Fitzgerald, 1858) capitalized on Lola Montez as the famous author, drawing upon her series of popular lectures in New York, London, and elsewhere (Montez).

Whitman left unacknowledged his authorship of the episodic entertainment, Jack Engle.  We might then allow a canonical poet to steer clear of a notorious entertainer whose vocational tag in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is “adventuress.”  To follow through on my first impulse to post that “Whitman’s Inez is Lola Montez,” it would take more than the known connections in 1858; the novel, again, was churned out topically and serially in 1852.  The Whitman scholars I contacted were less than convinced that Inez resembles Montez.  I share their opinion that Inez can be a composite of Spanish dancers Whitman might have known in New Orleans (she was there in 1853, he in 1848) or New York, as well as some features of George Sand and others whom Whitman admired.  The fictional Spanish dancer has no exalted political past and, like other characters in the novel, she derives a great deal from the conventions of romance and melodrama. But it is certain that Lola Montez was big news in New York in the early months of 1852, and there are interesting connections with Whitman’s plotline of the hero’s growing intimacy with a belle of the town.[2] Though “Spanish” connotes hot-blooded, it also connotes veiled and hard to get. The portrayal of the novel’s Spanish dancer points to significant features of the well-educated, entrepreneurial celebrity. Whitman’s version also renders the performer more bourgeois and less interesting than the real thing, downplaying Montez’s kinky suggestiveness. The differences are a measure of the fictional purpose of this minor character.  The hero rises from street life to office work and a brief escapade outside the law that ends happily, all the more because he was never in real danger of falling in love with Inez.


Lola Montez in a daguerreotype (color added),

1851, by Southworth & Hawes

            Inez and Lola: Not Cheap

You know the type: “Spanish,” “dancer”; theaters would be places to find all sorts of accessible women.  But Whitman’s Inez and the real Lola Montez might be called, in hard-boiled speak, classy dames. I intentionally hit on the sore point of typecasting, because it is almost inescapable, even in fact-based historical biography.  The surprise is not the higher quality of love object implicit in the reputations of Inez and Lola, and not even that they evince manners and education, but that they are businesswomen, capitalists.  In Jack Engle, the narrator is a reluctant young apprentice in Covert’s law office, where he notices a young lady client.  Covert is advising her on a doubtful purchase of shares (happily, it turns out she never buys into the fake scheme).  “She had the stylish, self-possessed look, which sometimes marks those who follow a theatrical life. Her face, though not beautiful, was open and pleasing, with bright black eyes, and a brown complexion. Her figure, of good height and graceful movement, was dressed in a costly pale colored silk” (27).  She calls out to the pet dog, also named Jack, who jumps up and muddies her dress.  Inez is annoyed, and then laughs it off—a preview of her responses to drooling men and to Jack himself.  In chapter six of Jack Engle, Inez appears “really fascinating” on stage in the “short gauzy costume of a dancing girl. Her legs and feet were beautiful, and her gestures and attitudes easy and graceful” (29). These characterizing details correspond somewhat with the historical Montez.  Montez was fair, with striking blue eyes, unlike Inez.  She was frequently depicted in association with animals.  Contemporaries range between calling Montez altogether beautiful, or merely fascinating with a face that was not beautiful.  But then of course there was her figure.  Accounts usually disparage Montez’s performing ability, but those who were not too scandalized avidly praised the legs and the costume.  Images in newspapers always emphasize the tiny waist, ballooning bosom, and short skirts.

Jack and his pretentious acquaintance J. Fitzmore Smytthe attend one of Inez’s performances.  Afterward, Smythe claims to be the dancer’s special friend, and invites the narrator one evening to meet her at her home.  Jack relates: “She was Spanish by birth, but must have been, from early life in England; at any rate, she talked the language without any foreign tone. She was very independent, had the reputation of possessing some money, well invested; and although much talked about, Smytthe averred that she was as good as other people.”  The dancer’s English diction evokes Lola—an unusual speech attribute for someone who sings in Spanish, plays the guitar, and makes Spanish coffee. I have often wondered why there was not more objection to the Spanish persona, though Lola Montez claimed Spanish ancestry rather than upbringing. Some biographies tell the tale that this Irishwoman surnamed Gilbert studied dance in Spain, but Montez’s parentage and schooling were Anglophone; she spent her early girlhood and her brief first marriage in India. Contemporaries vouch for having conversed with Lola in French, Spanish, and German, among other languages. Thomas Gunn in his diary describes her as speaking with a French accent.[3] Some newspaper accounts render her speech in a sort of German-French mispronunciation of English (ze for the, etc.).  Years in various European cities and courts may have entangled her accent.

As to the novella’s details about well-invested money and being essentially respectable, these are attributes crucial to the legend of Lola Montez.  Both Inez and Lola are known for multiple heterosexual relationships, sometimes overlapping. Lola was a prosperous courtier or hostess in most cities in which she temporarily reigned. Like many a star since, she commanded the fashion, speech, manner, and education of a lady (with a daring difference), which raised the stakes of desirability.  She could induce gentlemen to marry her and a king to support her as a kind of minister-mistress. Lola Montez appointed her managers and protectors, usually but not always serially.[4] She often attacked those who vilified her morals or her performance, and literally fought with an Australian editor and others.  She explicitly suggested she would not have had to work on the stage if she were indeed a prostitute.  More than once supported as a wife, she earned large sums and for a time received a royal pension.  Yet her failures in the entertainment business were conspicuous, and lawsuits concerning marital status, charges of assault, or debt often entangled her.  Much of the publicity surrounding Lola portrays a woman out of feminine bounds: a cigar smoker, even when it was prohibited on a train; an equestrian wielding a whip;[5] the diva with a fiery temper.  Headlines tell of her assaults or fights, her escapes from debt collectors or police.  All this differs from the portrayal of Inez, who seemingly cherishes domesticity and remains largely un-implicated in the chase scene in Jack Engle.  And yet Whitman endows his Spanish dancer with the temper of her race.[6]

Society in Whitman’s New York is considerably more guided by religion and propriety than the settlements along the routes of the Gold Rush, Montez’s milieu in the 1850s after she left New York.  Whitman’s narrator is smitten with the glamorous Inez in part because she is foreign and reputed to be dangerous.  At one point, when Jack is misled into assuming that his friend Smytthe is Inez’s acknowledged lover, he realizes he has offended: “I felt a little apprehensive that the hot-blooded Spaniard was going to give us a taste of her temper” (42). But Inez instead laughs and firmly closes the door on the two men. The novella is preoccupied with the uprooted population of street children and precocious young men, but the city has watchmen and police and clergymen that prevent anything as lawless as Panama or San Francisco or Australia.  Jack makes excuses for Inez’s marginal respectability.  “These unfortunates [children whose parents serve the public] have the experience of men and women while yet in early youth. Under feverish stimulants, they come forward, like hot-house plants, and sometimes their growth is unwholesome, and as fragile. With Inez, however, there was the saving fact of a strong vein of native common sense” (38).  As Jack becomes fond of Inez, she refuses to let him visit her at home alone, as if to protect him, though he repeatedly states that three is a crowd.  Although Lola Montez was ingenious and resourceful, and thrived in the company of intelligent people, I see little in any version of her life to suggest common sense, particularly in her hiring of managers.   Still, I can imagine her as being friendly like Inez, and she was often observed acting generously and charitably. Montez’s eminence was precarious and had to be won serially, on short engagements city after city.  Performers of her ilk encountered “black houses,” theaters full of men without women, potentially on the verge of riot.  In many theaters, the women on and off stage were presumed to be available.  Lola Montez sometimes whipped this corps into rebellion, or stepped forward in propria persona to appease and persuade.  Very often, she needed to leave the theatre and the town rather quickly, not unlike Jack and his heroine Martha.

Jack Engle is of course no biography of Inez the Spanish dancer, and she is a plot device, domestically sweet or hot-tempered as needed.  Offstage for most of the latter half of the novella, she resides in a flowery cottage in Hoboken hosted by a large Irish family.  After Sunday visits there, Jack brings home bouquets (76-77), but their gay conversations are not symptoms of love: “My feelings toward the Spaniard could not be called by any means a profound love…her departure wouldn’t break my heart” (78).  The potential rivalry with Mr. J. Fitzmore Smytthe likewise is no source of regret: when an outburst of “the high-strung girl’s displeasure” is aimed at Smytthe and he is barred from visiting, “I by no means mourned his absence from Inez’s rooms…; considering … that two made a much pleasanter party than three” (98)—a reminder of the earlier chapters in which Jack is always negotiating for time alone with Inez.  His heart was never in it.

Instead, in this heteronormative romance, Jack belatedly recognizes that he loves Martha, the captive ward of his boss, Covert.  The girl with the housewifely name is the same Quaker girl who helped him in his destitute childhood.  Jack plots with friends to help him in “carrying off a princess from a tormenting monster” (101).  Inez agrees to take Martha in when she escapes her guardian’s clutches.  “The shrewd Spaniard” wants “to take a little revenge on Covert for his intentions toward her spare cash,” though she had suspected him in time to avoid the catastrophic investments (97).  “You may be sure, the mettlesome Spaniard had fire enough in her veins to resent the deliberate design of cheating her” (97-8). It turns out that Martha’s father murdered Jack’s father, and Covert diverted Martha’s property into his own hands, with designs on making her his wife.  Inez happily welcomes Jack’s new love, with only a small twinge of jealousy, and Jack’s friend Thomas Peterson begins to take his place as Inez’s companion.  In the end, when all are living happily ever after, Inez’s departure far from breaks Jack’s heart: “With the advance of the season, too, Inez was busy in her preparations for a professional tour; she having engagements that way. This tour engrossed her time and attention, and proved, I understand, a very profitable one” (152).  The Hoboken retirement seems to anticipate a later phase of Lola Montez’s life, homesteading in Grass Valley, California.[7]  Writing Jack Engle in 1852, Whitman could have been aware of Montez’s planned departure on tour after a New York season.

            Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets

Lola Montez is a much more rousing biographical subject than Inez the supporting lady in Jack Engle.  Indeed, there have been musicals about her; Lola, the devil’s assistant in Damn Yankees (1955) is an avatar of the famous performer (coinciding with Max Ophuls’ film of the same year).  Her self-made celebrity sets off a current of impersonations, as does Whitman’s, beginning with the anonymity and the first-person voice of Jack Engle in the novella, and onward to Whitman’s role as Emersonian poet.  The advice books are indications of the imperative of self-determination: Montez asserted in the published version of one of her lucrative lectures: “The right of defining one’s position seems to be a very sacred privilege in America,” and women must make good use of their beauty, “our sole capital to begin life with.”[8]  At one time, admirers paid a dollar to visit and shake her hand in her New York hotel; “She then arranged to give audiences for a quarter of an hour, when persons provided with a ticket could converse with her and hear her adventures” (Frances Gerard, Some Fair Hibernians [London 1897]).   Her life is far too complex to detail even in a full-length biography, but many have tried, dating back to diatribes in German in 1847 (more than 100 German-language listings in WorldCat through the early 1850s); her own “autobiography” in 1858; and Francis Lister Hawk’s Story of a Penitant (1867).  Around 1909, full-length biographies join the plays and novelizations: Edmund d’Auvergne, Lola Montez, an Adventuress of the ‘Forties, which contributes to the chapter-length version in his collection of women’s lives, Adventuresses and Adventurous Ladies (New York, 1927); Horace Wyndham’s The Magnificent Montez (London, 1935), redacted as one of a set of biographies in Feminine Frailty.  The fashion for books about Lola Montez persisted in the 1930s and 1950s. In 2012, Kit Brennan adds a novel, Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards with a sequel in 2013, and the Poisoned Nom de Plume.  The time is ripe to reconsider the role playing and gender indeterminacy in this woman’s career.  I recommend aligning her with networks of comparable female types circulating in publications during her lifetime and since.

Researched biographies of Montez cite a description of her by Mary Seacole, a fascinating connection between two outsiders who were comparably world-traveled entrepreneurs, though few would categorize them together.  Seacole, mixed-race Jamaican military supplier and nurse in the Crimean War who is now one of the most famous “Black Britons,” had come to Cruces, Panama, in 1851-1852 to join her brother in running a hotel and restaurant for the Gold Rush traffic before a canal or railroad made the journey to California less arduous.[9]  At this point in history, riff-raff rolls through the isthmus, a zone of freedom for people of color and danger for women, from Seacole’s own experience.  Her narrative damns the racist Yankees[10] and demonizes the few brazen women among the men.

Came one day, Lola Montes, in the full zenith of her evil fame, bound for California, with a strange suite. A good-looking, bold woman, with fine, bad eyes, and a determined bearing; dressed ostentatiously in perfect male attire, with shirt-collar turned down over a velvet lapelled coat, richly worked shirt-front, black hat, French unmentionables, and natty, polished boots with spurs. She carried in her hand a handsome riding-whip, which she could use as well in the streets of Cruces as in the towns of Europe,

and which she used on a Yankee who tugged at her jacket (Seacole, chapter five).  Lola herself, who crossed Panama and sailed to San Francisco by May, 1853, disputed this version of her in Seacole’s 1857 book (Morton 234). Seacole’s description resembles images and anecdotes in newspapers in Europe and Australia (where Montez followed the gold miners in 1855-1856), so its vivid sartorial details and violent action might not be entirely from direct observation. Montez often published versions of her own life when censured in the press or theater.  Montez and Seacole, famous in caricatures, filled different roles for groups of men without family; they are among many nineteenth-century women grouped together as travelers or other types in collective biographies.

In a recent group biography, Sharon Hartman Strom depicts Lola Montez not as a traveler but as a performer and celebrity who devised the stage debut of the possibly mixed-race Miriam Follin as “Minnie Montez.”[11]  Miriam was the half sister of Noel Follin, Montez’s lover and manager who drowned as their ship returned from Australia.  Miriam Follin finds no short biography in CBW, but she is true to her mentor Montez in morphing through various marriages and ventures—material for another essay.  And here is another link to Whitman. Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1852 to 1922, was an American literary and news magazine published by engraver Frank Leslie (1821–1880). Miriam married E. G. Squier, who frequently explored in Central and South America.  Mr. and Mrs. E. G. Squier for a time lived together with Leslie, and at other times Miriam traveled as Leslie’s wife (Strom 57) before the Squiers divorced.  Engaged in the periodical, Miriam eventually married Leslie and when he died, legally assumed his name to run his newspaper (Strom 58-63). Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper on 20 December 1856 had published the famous diatribe against Leaves of Grass (1855), an “intensely vulgar, nay, absolutely beastly book”; “the author should be sent to a lunatic asylum, and the mercenary publishers to the penitentiary for pandering to the prurient tastes of morbid sensualists” (42).  In 1868, still in Frank Leslie’s lifetime and before Follin married him in 1874, the newspaper reprinted parts of a censorious review of Whitman’s poem from London’s Saturday Review on May 2, 1868 (Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper 11 July 1868: 259).  Strom recognizes the self-making fervor of these decades without linking Montez (a minor character in Follin’s life) and Whitman.


Lola Contains Multitudes

Whitman’s novel and my own research project share a willingness to use social types without striving for realism or fact beyond the immediate purpose.  The Collective Biographies of Women project can assist historical research, but its aim is more to show the interdependence of versions of women in multiple types, specifically in volumes that present comparable short biographies of women.  I have noted d’Auvergne’s and Wyndham’s titles; other collection titles indicate the company Lola keeps: short biographies of Lola Montez appear in Calamity Jane and the Lady Wildcats; Enchanters of Men; Gallant Ladies; Superwomen; Seven Splendid Sinners, and the like.

Characterization of Lola Montez varies in the brief biographies collected in the books in CBW’s online bibliography.  Montez is grouped with women travelers or with tales of early California in some twentieth-century books.  After the earliest, in 1897, five versions of Lola’s life appear in volumes that date from 1927-1929, and two from 1937-1940. I have noted that the titles of books that include a biography of Lola Montez make no secret of the sexual traffic on offer.  The texts frequently rely on analogies to women of various types, as does the CBW project.  “No woman in history, not even Cleopatra, left so many dizzy heads behind her as she danced her merry way through life,” avers Henry Thomas of Lola in Wild Women of History.  Cameron Rogers, in Gallant Ladies (1928), takes a complimentary view of Lola as a kind of Napoleon, a Cleopatra or Aspasia, in the first two paragraphs:

  1. Lola Montez, Irish by birth, Spanish by choice, was by vocation, a ruler of men. More than a lovely woman who was content to reign in drawing rooms and boudoirs as a blue stocking or royal favorite, she applied a vigorous intelligence to coöperate with physical perfection and actually molded the policies of one not inconsiderable nation in opposition to those sponsored by one of the first ministers of the age, and, incredibly, triumphed. Metternich, who could name the great Napoleon as a victim of his statecraft, found no defense for beauty mated with mentality and courage, and was driven from the ground whereon he was so accustomed to win victory, leaving behind him not only his wits but his dignity. Lola in her time ruled absolute in nineteenth-century Bavaria.
  2. But ruling Bavaria was only an incident in the career of the diva who counted among her admirers a king of Bavaria, a lord-lieutenant of Ireland, an emperor of Russia, a ruler of Poland and two men who created for mankind more felicity than any of these, Alexandre Dumas, and Franz Liszt. She adventured blithely about the world as gentle in victory as a summer evening, in adversity as hard as a Toledo blade, utterly fearless, utterly beautiful, a Cleopatra who would not have fled at Actium, an Aspasia who would have personally so thrashed Hermippus that he would have withdrawn his charges, howling, before the judges. Lecturing in London in one month, the next she was in New York while the inhabitants of that city in the dim and fabled fifties, paid a dollar to shake her hand, and then off again to swell the gold rush to California and to horsewhip an abusive yellow journalist in Australia. Like summer lightning she flickered wonderfully and dangerously above the horizons of many men, some of whom attained her and were blasted, gratefully enough, in the attaining.

Outdoing the women of history and conquering world leaders, Lola is also a Spanish weapon and natural force luring men to blissful doom.  This sort of hyperbole flourishes in short biographies of this cosmopolitan adventuress, as if biographers must pack many lives into each sentence: “Lola sailed back to Europe, having girdled a globe with which, since the age of four, she had always made herself singularly free. Always a Continental celebrity, she was now a world-wide figure, but she was weary to death of it all. She was only thirty-eight but she had packed into her years a dozen lives” (Rogers, Gallant Ladies).  The comparisons to the likes of Cleopatra are not confined to the paragraphs of her own biography, but built into the structure of biographical collections: Albert Payson Terhune, in Superwomen (1916), depicts Lola in a list of twelve celebrated women associated with sexual allure, including Cleopatra and Helen of Troy as well as women nearer in history to Gilbert/Montez’s short life (1820-1861), primarily Frenchwomen.  In Wonder Women in History (1918), Terhune continues his anticipation of superhero comics, featuring the same biography of Montez aligned with a variation of the list: Fanny Elssler and George Sand, two likely contributors to Whitman’s idea of the adventuress, along with a total of nineteen French and English beauties of court and stage.  A snide biographer, Terhune concludes, “One trembles to think of the almost royal Irish rage that would have possessed Lola if, at her baroness-countess-Bavarian zenith, she could have foreseen that dreary little postscript to her lurid life,” that is, the plain gravestone in New York.

Another biography begins with her end: in William Rutherford Hayes Trowbridge’s Seven Splendid Sinners (1908), the short biography of Lola Montez begins with an epigraph from Swinburne’s “Dolores,” followed by testimony to Lola Montez’s sincere repentance as death neared, a contrast with Terhune’s rather gleeful exposure of her final mortification.  Lola, as one of the seven, is among “sinners” of rank, as high as Catherine the Great of Russia and several duchesses.  “Irish” had a similar connotation to Spanish as to exotic and unruly beauty.  Gerard’s Some Fair Hibernians joins a range of collections focused on the idea of Western wildness. Gerard makes plain the presupposition of a collective biography, that the examples will be compared and applied as precepts.  Here are the first two paragraphs as a final example:


1 As in all lives there are shadows, so in all biographies there is an occasional development of the worst or seamiest side of human nature, and although such histories are neither pleasant to write nor to read, still in a volume of biographies it is necessary to show the reader these shadows as a relief to the higher lights. In this sense we cannot have a greater contrast than the one presented by the sedate and virtuous career of Miss O’Neill and the disorderly, riotous chronicle we are about to enter upon. Nevertheless, the life of Lola Montez is not without deep interest and a certain amount of profit. This is my excuse for reproducing her now forgotten story, which, in its time, excited the attention of Europe.

2 As a contemporary writer remarked, “A woman who, in the full light of the nineteenth century, renewed all the scandals that disgraced the Middle Ages, and, with an audacity that is almost unparalleled, seated herself upon the steps of a throne, is worthy of mention, if even to show to what an extent vice can sometimes triumph, and to what a fall it can eventually come.”

Walt Whitman offers a wonderful excuse for reviving the tales of Lola Montez.  His version of the Spanish dancer is neither as grand as Rogers’s nor as reprehensible as Gerard’s.  Before Whitman had the audacity to seat himself upon poetic heights, he got wind of an exciting character who anticipated the future of bohemian New York.  The life of the real Lola Montez could never have fit in the newspaper installments of Jack Engle.


Works Cited

Note: for a bibliography of “Lola Montez books,” see http://cbw.iath.virginia.edu/women_display.php?id=14501.

Booth, Alison, et al.  Collective Biographies of Womenhttp://cbw.iath.virginia.edu.  14 July 2017.

Folsom, Ed, and Kenneth M. Price, “Walt Whitman,” The Walt Whitman Archive http://whitmanarchive.org/biography/walt_whitman/index.html#bohemian 19 June 2017.

Greusz, Kirsten.  Email correspondence, March 13, 2017.

Lehigh University. “Montez, Lola (1820-1861).” The Vault at Pfaff’s.          http://pfaffs.web.lehigh.edu/node/54272 July 14, 2017.

Morton, James.  Lola Montez: Her Life and Conquests.  Portrait Books, 2007.

Montez, Lola. The Arts of Beauty: Or, Secrets of a Lady’s Toilet. Dick & Fitzgerald, 1858.

Seacole, Mary.  Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole.  London: Blackwood, 1857.              http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/seacole/adventures/adventures.html. Accessed 14      August, 2017.

Strom, Sharon Hartman.  Fortune Fame & Desire: Promoting the Self in the Long Nineteenth Century.  Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.

Velsor, Mose (Walt Whitman). “Manly Health and Training, With Off-Hand Hints Toward Their Conditions,” ed. Zachary Turpin. Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 33 (2016), 184-310.

Whitman, Walt, and Zachary Turpin. Life and Adventures of Jack Engle. University of Iowa            Press, 2017.

Wyndham, Horace. The Magnificent Montez: From Courtesan to Convert. Project Gutenberg.        New York: Hillman-Curl. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/21421/21421.txt 14 July 2017.



[1] Kirsten Greusz suggests Inez was a common name for the Spanish-beauty type, as in antebellum novels “Inez the Beautiful, or, Love on the Rio Grande” (Harry Hazel, 1846) or Augusta Evans Wilson’s “Inez, A Tale of the Alamo” (1850).  I also consulted with Ed Whitley, Ken Price, and Ed Folsom.

[2] Ed Folsom and Ken Price, in their article on Whitman for The Walt Whitman Archive, indicate Whitman’s affiliations with women activists Abby Price, Paulina Wright Davis, Sarah Tyndale, and Sara Payson Willis (Fanny Fern), as well as the “queen of Bohemia” Ada Clare.  CBW includes only Fanny Fern of these women, though abolitionists and activists for women’s rights do appear in some collections listed in our bibliography.

[3] Thomas Gunn, Diaries vol. 9, Missouri History Museum, 1851, 67, cited in Lehigh University.

[4] The two men to whom she was married concurrently died far afield; a French lover died in a duel; a California suitor was shot.

[5] Images of Lola Montez abound in the public domain, as on the Wikipedia article about her; the CBW collections include some of the better-known.

[6] Curiously, temper occurs 16 times in Jack Engle (and intemperance 1, intemperate 4, and temperament 1), most often in the long confession by Martha’s father that explains his murder of Jack’s father.

[7] A replica of her house (1853-1855) is now a museum.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_of_Lola_Montez 27 July 2017.

[8] Strom 47, citing Lectures of Lola Montez, 11, 15, 155-7.

[9] E. G. Squier promoted the Honduran Inter-Continental Oceanic Railway, and is recognized in the guise of Hamilton K. Fisker in Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now (Strom 28); this novel also includes a portrait of the gun-wielding Western widow that Lola herself became by the later 1850s. Squier became the second husband of Miriam Follin, who performed with Montez (Strom 42-48).

[10] Remember “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets” in Damn Yankees?

[11] Morton indicates that some described Montez as in love with Miriam, and notes Lola’s professed adoration of beautiful women (235).


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2 Responses to The Clerk and the Spanish Dancer: Walt Whitman’s Jack Engle and Lola Montez

  1. Stephen says:

    Wow great Article!

    This is the first time I Read the whole article .
    Thank you so much it is helpful and clear.

    I will visit again!!

  2. Ray Lesso says:

    What a great post. I hope you get such a clearer article in the future. Thanks a lot.

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