Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition (Penguin Classics)

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9780140421996: Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition (Penguin Classics)
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“I am large, I contain multitudes”
 
When Walt Whitman self-published his Leaves of Grass in July 1855, he altered the course of literary history. One of the greatest masterpieces of American literature, it redefined the rules of poetry while describing the soul of the American character. Throughout his great career, Whitman continuously revised, expanded, and republished Leaves of Grass, but many critics believe that the book that matters most is the 1855 original. Penguin Classics proudly presents that text in its original and complete form, with an introductory essay by the writer and poet Malcolm Cowley.

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Publisher:

One of the great innovative figures in American letters, Walt Whitman created a daringly new kind of poetry that became a major force in world literature. Leaves Of Grass is his one book. First published in 1855 with only twelve poems, it was greeted by Ralph Waldo Emerson as "the wonderful gift . . . the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed." Over the course of Whitman's life, the book reappeared in many versions, expanded and transformed as the author's experiences and the nation's history changed and grew. Whitman's ambition was to creates something uniquely American. In that he succeeded. His poems have been woven into the very fabric of the American character. From his solemn masterpieces "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd" and "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" to the joyous freedom of "Song of Myself," "I Sing the Body Electric," and "Song of the Open Road," Whitman's work lives on, an inspiration to the poets of later generations.

From the Inside Flap:

The poetry of Walt Whitman is the cornerstone of modern American verse. He was America's first truly great poet and his influence is still evident today. The first edition of Whitman's "Leaves of Grass, published in 1855, was a revolutionary manifesto declaring America's independence from European cultural domination. His rhapsodic free verse broke radically with poetic, tradition: it was poetry about America, its democracy, its people, and its hopes. It was uniquely American without apology--brash, proud, optimistic, and filled with the bustling energy of the new and growing nation.
This collection brings together Whitman's greatest and most famous poems spanning the whole of his career. From the groundbreaking first edition of "Leaves of Grass are seven poems, including "Song of Myself" and "I Sing the Body Electric."
From later editions there are such masterpieces as "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," and "I Hear America Singing." Also included is Whitman's great cycle of Civil War Poems, "Drum-Taps, which he wrote in the months when he was ministering to the wounded in battlefield hospitals. Concluding this collection is one of his last poems, "Good-bye My Fancy!"--his touching farewell to his muse, his life, and his readers.
More than one hundred years after his death, Walt Whitman's poetry has become part of the American heritage. It is a visionary which speaks as aptly to readers today as it will to future generations. As he says in "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," "others...look back on me because I look'd forward to them." Whitman's poetry is a link that connects all Americans--past, present, and future.
This book features a deluxe cover, ribbon marker, top stain, and decorative endpaper with a nameplate.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Mr 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 to whom the great poet really speaks. Seller Inventory # APG9780140421996

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Mr 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 to whom the great poet really speaks. Seller Inventory # APG9780140421996

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