Leaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanHere, in its original and complete form, is the edition of the American masterpiece that inspired Emerson to write his famous words to Whitman: I greet you at the beginning of a great career...
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 Whitmans original Introduction (which never appeared in any other edition during Whitmans life), and returned it to the common readership for whom the great poet intended it.
One of the most important literary events in twentieth-century poetry and criticism. -Karl Shapiro
When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d - Walt Whitman - Poem - Animation
Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass is a collection of poetry written over Walt Whitman 's entire lifetime organized thematically into sections. Whitman revised and added to the book throughout his life, the final edition being published only months before his death in Whitman was intentional in not organizing the book in any chronological way. Instead, he was concerned with the journey of the poetry. He desired that the reader would see a self formed through the words and themes of the book. The opening section, "Inscriptions," gives the reader an overview of the work and the purview of its author.
The edition of Leaves of Grass contained nine poems classified as Inscriptions ; the edition contained twentyfour such poems, including two long ones, "Starting from Paumanok" and "Song of Myself. The Inscriptions are dedicatory poems and form a preface to the main body of Leaves of Grass. This group of poems does not, however, indicate any well-thought-out plan or organization — it seems, rather, an improvised prologue. The themes are diverse, the symbolism is varied, and the only thing which really holds the group together is the poet's clear intention to provide a prologue. The lack of unity in theme and the general lack of close-knit organization is partly due to Whitman's continual reclassification of his poems. Some of the poems in Inscriptions were at first included with other sections of Leaves. The arrangement of the poems in Inscriptions does, however, suggest the general arrangement of Leaves of Grass , a natural biographical sequence in which the early poems deal with youth and the later ones with old age and approaching death.
Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman — Although the first edition was published in , Whitman spent most of his professional life writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass ,  revising it multiple times until his death. This resulted in vastly different editions over four decades—the first, a small book of twelve poems and the last, a compilation of over The poems of Leaves of Grass are loosely connected, with each representing Whitman's celebration of his philosophy of life and humanity. This book is notable for its discussion of delight in sensual pleasures during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Where much previous poetry, especially English , relied on symbolism , allegory , and meditation on the religious and spiritual , Leaves of Grass particularly the first edition exalted the body and the material world. Influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalist movement, itself an offshoot of Romanticism , Whitman's poetry praises nature and the individual human's role in it.