Leaves of Grass (Oxford World's Classics)

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9780192834096: Leaves of Grass (Oxford World's Classics)

Whitman is today regarded as America's Homer or Dante, and his work the touchstone for literary originality in the New World. In Leaves of Grass, he abandoned the rules of traditional poetry - breaking the standard metred line, discarding the obligatory rhyming scheme, and using the vernacular. Emily Dickinson condemned his sexual and physiological allusions as 'disgraceful', but Emerson saw the book as the 'most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed'. A century later it is his judgement of this autobiographical vision of the vigour of the American nation that has proved the more enduring. This is the most up-to-date edition for student use, with full critical apparatus.

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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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