Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

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by Walt Whitman, David S. Reynolds
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199840137
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/18/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
594,142
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Leaves of Grass


By Walt Whitman

Turtleback Books Distributed by Demco Media

Copyright ©1961 Walt Whitman
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0606033459

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, victorydeferr'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 ©1961 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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