Leaves Of Grass

( 242 )

Overview

As Malcolm Cowley says in his Introduction, the first edition of Leaves of Grass "might be called the buried masterpiece of American writing," for it exhibits "Whitman at his best, Whitman at his freshest in vision and boldest in language, Whitman transformed by a new experience." Cowley has taken the first edition from its narrow circulation among scholars, faithfully edited it, added his own Introduction and Whitman's original Introduction (which never appeared in any other edition during Whitman's life), and ...
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Leaves of Grass

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Overview

As Malcolm Cowley says in his Introduction, the first edition of Leaves of Grass "might be called the buried masterpiece of American writing," for it exhibits "Whitman at his best, Whitman at his freshest in vision and boldest in language, Whitman transformed by a new experience." Cowley has taken the first edition from its narrow circulation among scholars, faithfully edited it, added his own Introduction and Whitman's original Introduction (which never appeared in any other edition during Whitman's life), and returned it to the common readership for whom the great poet intended it.

Comprises all of Whitman's poems written following the arrangement of the edition of 1891-1892.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A selection of the writings of Whitman from the volumes , , , , , , , , , , , , and others. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Daniel Joyce
“This uncensored new edition of Leaves Of Grass is quite simply the most unambiguously clear-eyed version of Walt Whitman’s anthem to bisexuality and independence ever published…”
—Daniel Joyce
From Barnes & Noble
This handsome edition includes the 12 original poems of Whitman's groundbreaking work, including "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "There Was a Child Went Forth." Considered almost organic, Leaves of Grass was a continuing project which Whitman augmented and revised every few years until his death in 1892--by which time it included 383 poems. However, it was this original edition that Ralph Waldo Emerson called "The most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed." Taking its title from themes of fertility, universality, and cyclical life, with language reminiscent of Shakespeare and the Hebraic poetry in the Bible, the book was quite radical in form and content and was not well received at the time. Today it is considered one of the great classics of American literature and a towering work of poetry. This B&N edition includes an introduction by the renowned poet and critic Malcolm Cowley.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781936041671
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown
  • Publication date: 12/20/2010
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,239,312
  • Product dimensions: 0.85 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Walt Whitman was born on Long Island, New York in 1819. He spent most of his early life in Brooklyn where he served as editor for a number of newspapers for brief periods. His first major work, Leaves of Grass, was published in 1855 and was subsequently published in nine enlarged editions throughout his lifetime. In 1862 in the midst of the Civil War, Whitman set out for the battlefield to find his wounded brother and continued to volunteer in hospitals throughout the length of the war. He died in 1892.

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Read an Excerpt

Leaves of Grass
By Walt Whitman Pomona Press

Copyright © 2006 Walt Whitman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781406792256


One's Self I Sing

One's-Self I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-Masse.

Of physiology from top to toe I sing,
Not physiognomy alone nor brain alone is worthy for the Muse, I say the Form complete is worthier far,
The Female equally with the Male I sing.

Of Life immense in passion, pulse, and power,
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine,
The Modern Man I sing.


As I Ponder'd in Silence

As I ponder'd in silence,
Returning upon my poems, considering, lingering long,
A Phantom arose before me with distrustful aspect,
Terrible in beauty, age, and power,
The genius of poets of old lands,
As to me directing like flame its eyes,
With finger pointing to many immortal songs,
And menacing voice, What singest thou? it said,
Know'st thou not there is hut one theme for ever-enduring bards?
And that is the theme of War, the fortune of battles,
The making of perfect soldiers.

Be it so, then I answer'd.
I too haughty Shade also sing war, and a longer and greater one than any,
Waged in my book with varying fortune, with flight, advance and retreat, victory deferr'd and wavering,
(Yet methinks certain, or as good as certain,at the last,) the field the world,
For life and death., for the Body and for the eternal Soul,
Lo, I too am come, chanting the chant of battles,
I above all promote brave soldiers.



Continues...

Excerpted from Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman Copyright © 2006 by Walt Whitman. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction and Celebration vii
Suggestions for Further Reading xxxix
Facsimile Frontispiece 2
Facsimile Title Page 3
Whitman's Preface 5
Song of Myself 28
A Song for Occupations 97
To Think of Time 109
The Sleepers 117
I Sing the Body Electric 129
Faces 137
Song of the Answerer 142
Europe: The 72d and 73d Years of These States 146
A Boston Ballad 148
There Was a Child Went Forth 151
Who Learns My Lesson Complete? 154
Great Are the Myths 156
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Reading Group Guide

1. Critic and poet Lewis Turco maintains that, contrary to the otherwise nearly universally accepted view, Whitman is not America's most innovative and important poet. He did nothing new, Turco argues, and "the level of his competence was not very high-he retained his poor ear throughout his life; his poems are too long, too disorganized, too pompous, too repetitious, too boring." Do you agree or disagree with this assessment?

2. Although Leaves of Grass might appear to be an amorphous, unstructured mass (as Turco suggests above), Whitman spent nearly forty years carefully revising it, reordering the poems, deleting poems or sections of poems, and adding new poems and cycles. He insisted that there was an overall unity and structure to the book (and stated that the ninth and final edition, the "Death-bed" edition published in 1892, was the last word on it). Do you perceive an overall unity in the book? Is there a discernible structure to it?

3. Walt Whitman is often called the poet of democracy and of America; one of the best-known and most often quoted poems in Leaves of Grass is "For You O Democracy" in "Calamus." How does Leaves of Grass answer the question of what democracy is and what it means to be an American?

4. In The Good Gray Poet, one of the first biographies of Whitman, William Douglas O'Connor explained in words that Whitman himself acknowledged that one of the primary purposes of Leaves of Grass was to save
sexuality "from the keeping of blackguards and debauchees, to which it has been abandoned"-by which he meant rescue it from libertines, whose dissolute behavior made sex disrespectable tomiddle-class Victorian sensibilities. One American reviewer of the 1855 edition described Whitman as having "a degrading, beastly sensuality, that is fast rotting the core of all the social virtues" and a British reviewer asked, "Is it possible that the most prudish nation on earth will adopt a poet whose indecencies stink in the nostrils?" How is sexuality represented in Leaves of Grass?

5. There are many recurrent themes, symbols, images, and motifs in Leaves of Grass as a whole, as well as in particular poems and cycles of poems. Consider, for example, the following: a) The use of the star, the lilac, and the bird in "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" (What do they symbolize and how do they relate to each other? How do they contribute to the structure of what many critics consider to be one of the finest poems ever written in the English language?); b) The recurrence of the word "mother" or "mothers" (more than one hundred times) in the book; and c) the repeated invocation of odor, fragrance, and perfume throughout the book.

6. The Civil War was a defining event in Walt Whitman's life, and the poems in "Drum-Taps" are a testimony to the impact the time he spent as a nurse to both Northern and Southern soldiers in the army hospitals of Washington, D. C. had on him. What view of the war is expressed by the narrative persona, and does the perspective of the persona change over the course of the cycle of poems?

7. Discuss the following stylistic aspects of Leaves of Grass: a) lists and catalogues; b) the extensive use of parentheses; c) parallelism (the development of rhythm via a repetition of ideas and sentences rather than through accents and syllables); d) the repetition of sounds and words; and e) punctuation.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 242 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(157)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(25)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(26)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 244 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2011

    Dont buy this

    This book is not formatted at all. Each poem is one long paragraph, and there are not even extra returns after each poem; they all run together. It may not cost much, but it's still a waste of money.

    15 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Overshadowed by Whitman's Eccentric Persona

    Walt Whitman is one of those people whose public image or persona has quite overshadowed his work, and for good reason--his work does not fully live up to his reputation as America's national poet. Granted, a minority of Whitman's work is brilliant in every respect (Drum-Taps and In Memory of President Lincoln come to mind), and his remarkably original style has changed the nature of free verse poetry forever, but much of his material is, well, simply average. On occasion he verges on rambling, stuck somewhere between Emerson/Thoreau and Tolstoy, trying to formulate a coherent philosophy but all the while attempting to believe in everything--thus believing in nothing. At times, his laid-back "acceptance for all" theory borders on contradictory. This is disappointing in light of his best work, which demonstrates his firm grasp of Life and Humanity. If you like Whitman's cadence verse style, as I do, I recommend Allen Ginsberg and Carl Sandburg--the later of whom, in my opinion, blows Whitman out of the water.

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing

    This had basically all of his works. He is a great writer.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an Awesome Collection

    This is an awesome collection to have in one's own library.

    Everyone should own Whitman works, along with Ohio Blue Tips by Jeanne E. Clark, The Photos In The Closet by Daniel E. Lopez, and works by Alison Townsend.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2011

    -THE BEST OF THE BEST!-

    Walt started it all and still continues to show his relevance with every passing decade. A life time poet who will always have my heart!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    recommended for poetry lovers

    while the formatting is awful it doesn't necessarily detract from the outstanding poetry that Walt W. has left us to ponder and love!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Phenomenal!

    Karen Karbiener was my professor at Columbia and taught the American Literature class, Walt Whitman. Karen was by far the best professor I had and will never forget this class and this book! The book is profoundly educational and tremendously stimulating!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    This is an Awesome Collection

    This is an awesome collection to have in one's own library.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 30, 2014

    I've always compared poetry to music lyrics. And like many albu

    I've always compared poetry to music lyrics. And like many albums, often there are just one or two songs which are really, really good. This book fits that model for me. It has a few very memorable poems, but several which, while not bad, require more work to derive the meaning. Still, for anyone interested beautiful language artfully arranged to create mental landscapes, this book is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2013

    He speaks in tongues....a must have!

    Confusing at first....but if you understand the life of vocabulary or hav a dictionary in handy yiure good to go....overall this book is five star worthy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Highly recommended. I wish you weirdos who

    Get off on wasting space here communicating with each other would do us all a favor. Get a job. Get a life. Get an education. You all sound like a bunch of losers.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2013

    Poetry,the Beautiful.

    A friend of mine said she just didn't get poetry. It was Walt that invigorated her to dig deeper. Now she is a poetry lover.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Amy

    So r u all like brothers or wht :)

    1 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Alesh

    He yells NO STUPID GATORS GO BUCK EYES

    1 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Brandon

    Hot babe in the house im brandon.

    1 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

    Major formatting issues!!!

    I got this in hope that it wasn't as poorly formatted as other free poetry. I was wrong. If anything it was worse. Lines ran together, there was random punctuation, and none of the poems were separated. I woul not recommend this at all. I found it to be a waste of time no matter how free it was. Splurge a little and spend a dollar on a better version. You especially don't want to use this version for study as it will take you so much time t simply decifer, let alon study it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Damion

    Damion-they football game is on.

    1 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Alesh

    No dude the gators should be the weeners. He cracks up laughing.

    1 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Hunter

    He laughs at brandon and falls off the couch-Hunter.

    1 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 244 Customer Reviews

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