The beard is a great sanitary protection to the throat.
Rowing is a noble and manly exercise.
Do not partake of [potatoes] except in moderation.
Walt Whitman published his specific (and often humorous) advice on the subject of “manly health and training” under a pseudonym in 1858. Released as a series of newspaper columns, his writing tackled everything from dancing and travel to alcohol and boxing.
A new book, Walt Whitman’s Guide to Manly Health and Training, pairs over 75 of his most memorable quotes from the series with illustrations by Matthew Allen. Check out our gallery to view some entertaining nuggets of wisdom with accompanying artwork.
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"The beard is a great sanitary protection to the throat—for purposes of health it should always be worn, just as much as the hair of the head should be. Think what would be the result if the hair of the head should be carefully scraped off three or four times a week with the razor! Of course, the additional aches, neuralgias, colds, etc., would be immense. Well, it is just as bad with removing the natural protection of the neck; for nature indicates the necessity of that covering there, for full and sufficient reasons."
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On How a Man Should Walk:
"Always go with the head erect and breast expanded—always throwing open the play of the great vital organs, inhaling the good air into the throat, lungs and stomach, and giving tone to the whole system thereby."
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On Bedtime and the Bedroom:
"Ten o'clock at night ought to find a man in bed…The bedroom must not be small and close—that would go far toward spoiling all the other observances and cares for health. It is important that the system should be clarified, through the inspiration and respiration, with a plentiful supply of good air, during the six, seven, or eight hours that are spent in sleep. During most of the year, the window must be kept partly open for this purpose."
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"Often, a complete change of scene, associations, companionship, habits, etc., is the best thing that can be done for a man's health, (and the change is perhaps beneficial to a further extent in his morals, knowledge, etc.)."
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Walt Whitman's Guide to Manly Health and Training is available now from Ten Speed Press.