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Leaves of Grass Deathbed Edition (1892)

par Walt Whitman

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Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful." Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced." Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce various short, early versions, this Modern Library Paperback Classics "Death-bed" edition presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form, and includes newly commissioned notes.… (plus d'informations)

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Walt Whitman is the ultimate poet of the spirit. If after reading the Song of Myself you are not thoroughly and mystically aware that you are a spiritual being, your mind has been wandering elsewhere, instead of giving Walt due attention. While not every poem will reach the same exalted heights, those that do are a miraculous, ecstatic experience of being alive in a whole new way.

Random pick of Whitman goodness:

“I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road.

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
You must travel it for yourself.

It is not far, it is within reach,
Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,
Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land.“ ( )
  SandraArdnas | Jul 29, 2020 |
The best. ( )
  JayLivernois | Dec 5, 2016 |
Whitman is today regarded as America's Homer or Dante, and his work the touchstone for literary originality in the New World. In Leaves of Grass, he abandoned the rules of traditional poetry - breaking the standard metered line, discarding the obligatory rhyming scheme, and using the vernacular. I read this most recently as part of a weekend retreat sponsored by the University of Chicago's Basic Program of Liberal Education. The music of his poetry was present as it is in the many authors who Whitman influenced.
Emily Dickinson condemned his sexual and physiological allusions as `disgraceful', but Emerson saw the book as the `most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed'. A century later it is his judgement of this autobiographical vision of the vigour of the American nation that has proved the more enduring. ( )
1 voter jwhenderson | May 9, 2013 |
The "Deathbed Edition" is an 800+ page volume containing all of Whitman's last changes and additions to Leaves of Grass. It contains some of his most famous poems, including "Song of Myself."

It took me over two years, reading a poem here and there, to finish this massive tome of poetry. Much of it delighted me, particularly those poems in which Whitman celebrates life and beauty from every man, woman, and child to the smallest blade of grass.

His works about soldiering and war were of less appeal to me, because those subjects interest me less. However, a sense of "Americanness" resonates throughout the entire book and these poems of war is a vital part of that. Even Whitman himself explains that he tried to make the poetry in the book reflect that Americanness.

In any collection this big, there are bound to be poems I love and poems I don't. This was certainly true here, but Leaves of Grass is worth reading for any lover of poetry. ( )
1 voter andreablythe | Nov 21, 2012 |
I hated "Leaves of Grass" when I was an English major in college. Over the many intervening years I have grown to appreciate Whitman's work more and more. I know it was just me, but I had to grow up to realize the genius of his words. ( )
  CarmenOhio | Dec 29, 2008 |
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Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful." Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced." Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce various short, early versions, this Modern Library Paperback Classics "Death-bed" edition presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form, and includes newly commissioned notes.

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