Readers familiar with the later, more widely published versions of Leaves of Grass will find this first version of "Song of Myself" new, surprising, and often superior to the later versions — and exhilarating in the freshness of its vision. In this inexpensive edition, this enormously influential work will especially delight students, teachers, and any devotee of Walt Whitman.
This edition presents the original twelve poems from Whitman's premier 1855 publication of Leaves of Grass. Included are some of the greatest poems of modern times: "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "There Was a Child Went Forth," works that continue to upset conventional notions of beauty and originality even today.
The character of Walt Whitman inspired the film Dead Poets Society and the book Paper Towns by John Green, and the collection is heavily featured in the AMC television show Breaking Bad. The main protagonist’s name, Walter White, is even inspired by Whitman, while the poem “Gliding Over All” has been referenced throughout the series several times.
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A collection of quintessentially American poems, the seminal work of one of the most influential writers of the nineteenth century.
THIS ENRICHED CLASSIC EDITION INCLUDES:
A concise introduction that gives readers important background information A chronology of the author's life and work A timeline of significant events that provides the book's historical context An outline of key themes and plot points to help readers form their own interpretations Detailed explanatory notes Critical analysis, including contemporary and modern perspectives on the work Discussion questions to promote lively classroom and book group interaction A list of recommended related books and films to broaden the reader's experience
Enriched Classics offer readers affordable editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and insightful commentary. The scholarship provided in Enriched Classics enables readers to appreciate, understand, and enjoy the world s finest books to their full potential.
SERIES EDITED BY CYNTHIA BRANTLEY JOHNSON
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars...
First published in 1855, and edited, revised and expanded over thirty years, ‘Leaves of Grass’ has become one of the most celebrated poetry collections in the history of American literature. A master of free verse, Walt Whitman captures the true spirit of his homeland and its people through his poetry. He explores a wide range of themes, encompassing American identity and cultural values, democracy, nature and the mysteries of the human spirit.
Featuring the poems of the original 1855 edition, ‘Leaves of Grass’ remains an influential work within the American literary tradition, studied and treasured around the world.
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should I after return,
Or, long, long hence, in other spheres,
There to some group of mates the chants resuming,
(Tallying Earth's soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)
Ever with pleas'd smile I may keep on,
Ever and ever yet the verses owning—as, first, I here and now
Signing for Soul and Body, set to them my name,
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Abundant, ecstatic, generous, courageous - this is the first American epic poem, a celebration of selfhood and a catalogue of nineteenth-century American life of all ages and races. Revolutionary in style and controversial in content when it was first published in 1855, Whitman's masterwork has since inspired generations with its intoxicating rhythms and images, and its inclusive, praiseful joy.
THE ORIGINAL 1855 TEXT
Whitman continually expanded and revised the book as he took on the role of a workingman's bard who championed American nationalism, political democracy, contemporary progress, and unashamed sex. This volume, which contains 383 poems, is the final 'Deathbed Edition' published in 1892.
This volume contains 24 poems from Leaves of Grass, offering a generous sampling of Whitman's best and most representative verses. Featured works include "I Hear America Singing," "I Sing the Body Electric," "Song of the Open Road," "Out of Cradle Endlessly Rocking," "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," and "O Captain! My Captain!"—all reprinted from an authoritative text.
* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to Whitman’s life and works
* Concise introductions to the poetry and other works
* Images of how the poetry books were first printed, giving your eReader a taste of the original texts
* Excellent formatting of the poems
* Special chronological and alphabetical contents tables for the poetry
* Easily locate the poems you want to read
* Includes two collections of Whitman’s letters – spend hours exploring the poet’s personal correspondence
* Also includes Whitman’s scarce novel FRANKLIN EVANS, appearing here for the first time in digital print
* Features the complete prose works
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres
The Poetry Collections
LEAVES OF GRASS, 1855
LEAVES OF GRASS, 1892
OLD AGE ECHOES
UNCOLLECTED AND REJECTED POEMS
LIST OF POEMS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
LIST OF POEMS IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Other Prose Works
LIST OF PROSE WORKS
THE WOUND DRESSER
THE LETTERS OF ANNE GILCHRIST AND WALT WHITMAN
Among the poems include here, first published in Drum-Taps (1865) and Sequel to Drum-Taps (1866), are a number of Whitman's most famous works: "O Captain! My Captain!" "The Wound-Dresser," "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," and "Come Up from the Fields, Father." The letters and prose selections, including Whitman's musings on the publication of his works, on the wounded men he tended, and his impressions of Lincoln traveling about the city of Washington, offer keen insights into an extraordinary era in American history.
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Whitman wanted his book to be small enough to fit in a reader's pocket, as it was more likely to be read in the "open air." And he noted "I am nearly always successful with the reader in the open air." The title of the book is also a pun: "Grass" was a term that publishers ascribed to inferior literary works and "leaves" refer to the pages on which they were printed. It was considered "obscene literature" when it first came out, and critics accused its anonymous author of homosexuality.
Celebrating life, humanity, and the material world, Leaves of Grass was considered obscene at the time of its publication because of its overt discussion of sensual pleasure. It is now considered to be among the greatest collections of poetry to be published in modern times.
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The novel tells the rags-to-riches story of Franklin Evans, an innocent young man from the Long Island countryside who seeks his fortune in New York City. Corrupted by music halls, theaters, and above all taverns, he gradually becomes a drunkard. Until the very end of the tale, Evans’s efforts to abstain fail, and each time he resumes drinking, another series of misadventures ensues. Along the way, Evans encounters a world of mores and conventions rapidly changing in response to the vicissitudes of slavery, investment capital, urban mass culture, and fervent reform. Although Evans finally signs a temperance pledge, his sobriety remains haunted by the often contradictory and unsettling changes in antebellum American culture.
The editors’ substantial introduction situates Franklin Evans in relation to Whitman’s life and career, mid-nineteenth-century American print culture, and many of the developments and institutions the novel depicts, including urbanization, immigration, slavery, the temperance movement, and new understandings of class, race, gender, and sexuality. This edition includes a short temperance story Whitman published at about the same time as he did Franklin Evans, the surviving fragment of what appears to be another unfinished temperance novel by Whitman, and a temperance speech Abraham Lincoln gave the same year that Franklin Evans was published.
First published in book form in 1875, Whitman's Memoranda recounts soldiers' anecdotes of recent battles and army life as well as their last words and final messages to faraway friends and family. Whitman recorded his impressions of Abraham Lincoln, whom he frequently encountered on the city streets, and his thoughts on the conflict's day-to-day and historical significance. His evocative, poetic reflections offer a unique portrait of Civil War life.