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Leaves of Grass (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) [NOOK Book]

Overview



Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features ...
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Leaves of Grass (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)

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Overview



Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
  • New introductions commissioned from today's top writers and scholars
  • Biographies of the authors
  • Chronologies of contemporary historical, biographical, and cultural events
  • Footnotes and endnotes
  • Selective discussions of imitations, parodies, poems, books, plays, paintings, operas, statuary, and films inspired by the work
  • Comments by other famous authors
  • Study questions to challenge the reader's viewpoints and expectations
  • Bibliographies for further reading
  • Indices & Glossaries, when appropriate
All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest. Barnes & Noble Classics pulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.

 

When Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855 as a slim tract of twelve untitled poems, Walt Whitman was still an unknown. But his self-published volume soon became a landmark of poetry, introducing the world to a new and uniquely American form. The "father of free verse," Whitman drew upon the cadence of simple, even idiomatic speech to "sing" such themes as democracy, sexuality, and frank autobiography.

Throughout his prolific writing career, Whitman continually revised his work and expanded Leaves of Grass, which went through nine, substantively different editions, culminating in the final, authoritative "Death-bed Edition." Now the original 1855 version and the "Death-bed Edition" of 1892 have been brought together in a single volume, allowing the reader to experience the total scope of Whitman's genius, which produced love lyrics, visionary musings, glimpses of nightmare and ecstasy, celebrations of the human body and spirit, and poems of loneliness, loss, and mourning.

Alive with the mythical strength and vitality that epitomized the American experience in the nineteenth century, Leaves of Grass continues to inspire, uplift, and unite those who read it.

 

Karen Karbiener received a Ph.D. from Columbia University and currently teaches at New York University. She also wrote the introduction and notes for the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Frankenstein.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781411432529
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Series: Barnes & Noble Classics Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 960
  • Sales rank: 199,890
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Karen Karbiener received a Ph.D. from Columbia University and currently teaches at New York University. She also wrote the introduction and notes for the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of Frankenstein.

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Read an Excerpt



From Karen Karbiener’s Introduction to Leaves of Grass: First and "Death-Bed" Editions

"Whitman, the one pioneer. And only Whitman," wrote D. H. Lawrence in 1923. "No English pioneers, no French. No European pioneer-poets. In Europe the would-be pioneers are mere innovators. The same in America. Ahead of Whitman, nothing" Woodress, ed., Critical Essays on Walt Whitman, p. 211. The sentiments were echoed by the likes of F. O. Matthiessen, William Carlos Williams, and Allen Ginsberg. Langston Hughes named Whitman the "greatest of American poets"; Henry Miller described him as "the bard of the future" quoted in Perlman et al., eds., Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song, pp. 185, 205. Even his more cynical readers recognized Whitman’s position of near-mythical status and supreme influence in American letters. "His crudity is an exceeding great stench but it is America," Ezra Pound admitted in a 1909 article; he continued: "To be frank, Whitman is to my fatherland what Dante is to Italy" Perlman, pp. 112–113. "We continue to live in a Whitmanesque age," said Pablo Neruda in a speech to PEN in 1972. "Walt Whitman was the protagonist of a truly geographical personality: The first man in history to speak with a truly continental American voice, to bear a truly American name" Perlman, p. 232. Alicia Ostriker, in a 1992 essay, claimed that "if women poets in America have written more boldly and experimentally in the last thirty years than our British equivalents, we have Whitman to thank" Perlman, p. 463.

How did a former typesetter and penny-daily editor come to write the poems that would define and shape American literature and culture?

Whitman’s metamorphosis in the decade before the first publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855 remains an intriguing mystery. Biographers concede that details about Whitman’s life and literary activities from the late 1840s to the early 1850s are extremely hard to come by. "Little is known of Whitman’s activities in these years," writes Joann Krieg in the 1851–1854 section of her Whitman Chronology most other years have month-to-month commentaries. Whitman was fired from his job at the New Orleans Daily Cresent in the summer of 1848, then resigned from his editorship of the Brooklyn Freeman in 1849. Though he continued to write for several newspapers during the next five years, his work as a freelancer was irregular and his whereabouts difficult to follow. He seems also to have tried his hand at several other jobs, including house building and selling stationery. One wonders if Walt’s break from the daily work routine had something to do with his poetic awakening. Keeping to a regulated schedule in the newspaper offices had been a struggle for him, and he had been fired several times for laziness or "sloth." Charting his own days and ways—in particular, working as a self-employed carpenter, as had his idiosyncratic father—may well have enabled him to think "outside the box" and toward the organic, freeform qualities of Leaves.

Purposefully dropping out of workaday life and common sight suggests that Whitman may have intended to obscure the details of his pre-Leaves years, and there is further evidence to support the idea that Whitman consciously created a "myth of origins." In his biography of Whitman, Justin Kaplan quotes the poet on the mysterious "perturbations" of Leaves of Grass: It had been written under "great pressure, pressure from within," and he had "felt that he must do it" p. 185. To obscure the roots of Leaves and build the case for his original thinking, Whitman destroyed significant amounts of manuscripts and letters upon at least two occasions; as Grier notes in his introduction to Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, "one is continually struck by [the] omissions and reticences" of the remaining material vol. 1, p. 8. Indeed, some of the notes surviving his "clean-ups" were reminders to himself to "not name any names"—and thus to remain silent concerning any possible readings or influences. "Make no quotations, and no reference to any other writers.—Lumber the writing with nothing," Whitman wrote to himself in the late 1840s. It was a command he would repeat to himself several times in the years preceding the publication of Leaves.

Whitman’s friends and critics also did their share to create a legend of the writer and his explosive first book. In the first biographical study of Whitman, John Burroughs claimed that certain individuals throughout history "mark and make new eras, plant the standard again ahead, and in one man personify vast races or sweeping revolutions. I consider Walt Whitman such an individual" Burroughs, "Preface" to Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person. Others insisted that Leaves of Grass was the product of the "cosmic consciousness" Whitman had acquired around 1850 Bucke, Walt Whitman, p. 178 or a spiritual "illumination" of the highest order Binns, A Life of Walt Whitman, p. 69–70.

What sort of experience could inspire such a personal revelation? For a man just awakening to the inhumanity of slavery and the hidden agendas of the Free Soil stance, witnessing a slave auction might do it. This was but one of the life-altering events that occurred during Whitman’s three-month sojourn in New Orleans in 1848. Another, substantiated by his poetry rather than Whitman’s own word, was an alleged homosexual affair. Several poems in the sexually charged "Calamus" and "Children of Adam" clusters of 1860 are suggestive of an intense and liberating romance in New Orleans. The manuscript for "Once I Passed Through a Populous City" has the lines "man who wandered with me, there, for love of me, / Day by day, and night by night, we were together." "Man" was changed to "woman" in the final draft of the poem; see Whitman’s Manuscripts: Leaves of Grass 1860, edited by Fredson Bowers, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955, p. 64. In "I Saw in Louisiana a Live-Oak Growing," the poet describes breaking off a twig of a particularly stately and solitary tree: "Yet it remains to me a curious token, it makes me think of manly love." The emotional release of "coming out" might well explain the spectacular openness and provocative energy of Leaves of Grass; additionally, Whitman’s identification of his "outsider status" could have helped spark his empathy for women, Native Americans, and other marginalized groups that are celebrated in the 1855 poems.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 221 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 225 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2010

    Not formatted for Nook

    This was one of the first books I downloaded for the Nook and was pretty disappointed to see that the formatting is really messed up. It looks better in small type size, but on medium it will make incorrect line breaks, which is often disastrous to the poetry. On any size type it will never make indentions to show that a line is continued. I haven't downloaded any other poetry on nook so I'm not sure if this is a widespread issue or an isolated one.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 5, 2013

    As others say here I was very disappointed that my first e book

    As others say here I was very disappointed that my first e book experience had to be this one. The formating is all wrong. The line breaks are wrong and there are no hanging indentations which Whitman used a lot of. I would urge anyone to read Leaves of Grass, but not this copy. B and N should fix this. Whitman deserves better.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    To the RPers:

    Hey guys. Can you please find some other way to roleplay with each other? I'm not dissing roleplaying at all! I'm a teen just like you who enjoys a good rpg every once in a while. What I DON'T enjoy is a bunch of you guys taking over a space like this that is meant for something else, like reviewing a book. The reviw button is meant for giving your helpful oppinion on a book, not messaging back and forth. Try texting each other or using a site like Facebook, or somewhere else that has messaging capabilities. The other readers would really appreciate it!
    Thanks!
    -Ashlee

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2010

    Love the text, hate the formatting.

    This really is painful to read on the NOOKcolor since the line wrapping was never reformatted to reflow as font size is adjusted. The reviewer before me warned of this problem but I wasnt able to see the poems because the whole sample consisted of foreword. Dumb question, but can I get my $$ back?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2013

    My favorite work of poetry. Captures everything I feel about the

    My favorite work of poetry. Captures everything I feel about the world. I love reading this outdoors!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Bree

    Am I the only one in this room, besides my pet, that ha a human lifespan?! O-O so Friends are forever, legit! XD

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    To one d girl.

    Wanna nook sex?? Meet me at growney res1.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    Demonic Bell

    Smirks. We dont have one reslm. Ull never find our galaxy. For ur not ine of us. He frowns and runs disapearing.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    To all

    Hilari bell is where everyones at.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2012

    APPLE-ICATION

    STUPID CHATROOMS. I BELIEVE DUMN

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2012

    Jsjs

    Sjsjs

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Jason kiki

    "If you dont mind c" he smacks kikis and julid azzz
    Zz

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Zara

    I dont even rp in ur group lol

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Jane

    Hurry kiki....

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Dameion

    Hello?

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2012

    Erik

    Walks in muscualr outshirt hanfing but abbs showing hey ladies

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2013

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2012

    Phoenix

    U know if u post in firts result and integrity in second and truth in third u can rp all on different posts. And u can stay here if u like.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Shadow

    Hey pyro.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Asheley

    Has anyone seen Kade?

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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