Leaves of Grass: The Original 1855 Edition

Courier Corporation
14
Free sample

In 1855, Walt Whitman published — at his own expense — the first edition of Leaves of Grass, a visionary volume of twelve poems. Showing the influence of a uniquely American form of mysticism known as Transcendentalism, which eschewed the general society and culture of the time, the writing is distinguished by an explosively innovative free verse style and previously unmentionable subject matter. Exalting nature, celebrating the human body, and praising the senses and sexual love, the monumental work was condemned as "immoral." Whitman continued evolving Leaves of Grass despite the controversy, growing his influential work decades after its first appearance by adding new poems with each new printing.
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.
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About the author

One of America's most influential and innovative poets, Walt Whitman (1819–92) worked as a teacher, journalist, and volunteer nurse during the Civil War. Proclaimed as the nation's first "poet of democracy," Whitman reached out to common readers and opposed censorship with his overt celebrations of sexuality
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4.7
14 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Courier Corporation
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Published on
Mar 1, 2012
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9780486112091
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / American / General
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Inspirational & Religious
Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Nature
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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As featured in AMC's Breaking Bad, given by Gale Boetticher to Walter White and discovered by Hank Schrader. "I celebrate myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. I loafe and invite my soul, I lean and loafe at my ease....observing a spear of summer grass." So begins Leaves of Grass, the first great American poem and indeed, to this day, the greatest and most essentially American poem in all our national literature. The publication of Leaves of Grass in July 1855 was a landmark event in literary history. Ralph Waldo Emerson judged the book "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom America has yet contributed." Nothing like the volume had ever appeared before. Everything about it--the unusual jacket and title page, the exuberant preface, the twelve free-flowing, untitled poems embracing every realm of experience--was new. The 1855 edition broke new ground in its relaxed style, which prefigured free verse; in its sexual candor; in its images of racial bonding and democratic togetherness; and in the intensity of its affirmation of the sanctity of the physical world. This Anniversary Edition captures the typeface, design and layout of the original edition supervised by Whitman himself. Today's readers get a sense of the "ur-text" of Leaves of Grass, the first version of this historic volume, before Whitman made many revisions of both format and style. The volume also boasts an afterword by Whitman authority David Reynolds, in which he discusses the 1855 edition in its social and cultural contexts: its background, its reception, and its contributions to literary history. There is also an appendix containing the early responses to the volume, including Emerson's letter, Whitman's three self-reviews, and the twenty other known reviews published in various newspapers and magazines. This special volume will be a must-have keepsake for fans of Whitman and lovers of American poetry.
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