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Many of Walt Whitman's earliest readers hailed him as a religious prophet. For them, Leaves of Grass was more than literary art; it was sacred scripture. Recent scholarship has, however, dismissed those early enthusiasts as naive, if not crazy. David Kuebrich's new study of Whitman corrects that academic oversight by giving the early Whitmanites their due as the critics who most clearly perceived the nature and purpose of the poet's labors—to begin a new religion. Kuebrich's thorough, intelligent study, based squarely on textual evidence, offers a revisionist interpretation of America's great poet, returning religious vision and spirituality to the center of Whitman studies.
Indiana University Press