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Leaves of Grass (1) & Democratic Vistas Hardcover – January 1, 1935


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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: J. M. Dent (1935)
  • ASIN: B0012NKZK4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (282 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,803,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

The book itself contains illustrations by Rockwell Kent, a Preface to the 1855 edition, and Whitman's poems of course.
Z Hayes
Walt Whitman is the father of free verse and his main work, Leaves of Grass, is perhaps one of the greatest works by an American poet ever written.
ardent_lover
What a great author ... I would recommend this read to anyone who is interested in GREAT AMERICAN CLASSIC LITERATURE ....
T h e C r i t i c - y e a h , r i g h t

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By M. Meszaros on September 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's difficult to think of something appropriate to say about a man who spent his life trying to express the panorama of humanity through the lense of his own heart. From a drop of blood to the grandeur of a shipyard or a continent, he takes all readers on a journey wild with raving, raging, sorrow, longing, humbleness and pride. At once he is totally modern and yet rife with history.

For readers new to poetry, Walt Whitman is wonderfully accessible. One can pick up Leaves of Grass and virtually start and stop anywhere and pick up something wonderful every time.

Not to be missed.
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142 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Chad M. Brick on March 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" is a collection of some of the finest American free-verse poetry ever written. Outward from his home on Brooklyn, Whitman soars out over our great nation, painting a sweeping portrait of mid-nineteenth century America and its diverse inhabitants. Whitman covers a panorama of ideas and themes, from lofty, aloof musings on the nature of man, to piercing depictions of the horrors of war. Gems of wisdom hang from Whitman's web of of verse like dew drops - easy to see but hard to grasp. This is a powerful work, and a never-ending source of beauty. Unfortunately for me, I am not a big fan of free verse, making this work harder for me to enjoy than I had hoped.
Which edition do I recommend? That really depends on what you are looking for. If you are just interested in getting a taste of Whitman, I would recommend some of the abridged versions. I don't feel that reading all 700+ pages of Whitman's poetry is necessary for anyone but his biggest fans and students. For a complete version, I found the Modern Library edition acceptable, but nothing spectacular. This work has a multitude of editions, and I would recommend actually holding them in your hand before making a decision on which best suits your needs.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
The 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass was the first and the best.

When I was young I bought the big deathbed edition, not knowing about the 1855 one. I became a Whitman disciple. Either version is a good place to start, but the 1855 is the best version of the early poems and a fine introduction to W.W.

The 1855 version was ignored for quite a long time in Whitman studies, but started recieving critical attention after Malcolm Cowley worked to revive it in the 1950's. It was his version that used to be available, until recently, as a Penguin Classic.

So whats the difference between 1855 and the Deathbed one?

Throughout his lifetime, Whitman not only expanded LOG, his only book, with gobs of inferior-- and sometimes truly awful-- poems (especially when he was older) but he also revised many of his early poems for later editions-- revising them almost always for the worse.

The 1855 edition is realtively short and reflects the diminutive, obscure quality of the original. The poems are full of Whitman's original fire before he tinkered with them.

Bloom, the author of the introduction, is in the estimation of many America's best living literary critic. He profoundly knows and adores Walt Whitman.

If you have the slightest interest in reading American Poetry,drop whatever you are reading (unless it is perhaps Dickinson or Emerson) and get this book. It's still America's best. Nothing since has been (and nothing will ever be) better. The only American poets after Whitman who mattered were deep readers of LOG: Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, TS Eliot, John Ashbury. (A Ginsberg, C. Sandberg, and O. Paz resemble him superficially but they are are wonks.
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208 of 241 people found the following review helpful By Phil Padwe on March 14, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the poems are beautiful... and I certainly don't mean to bash Whitman with this 2-star rating... it's the wrong book. NOT AS ADVERTISED. This was supposed to be the original 1855 edition. That's what I expected, and therefore (in my mind) what I was paying for. The original 1855 edition, according to modern literary analysis, was the "strongest/purest" version. It was the true starting point of Whitman's own (and consequently America's) poetic awakening. Consisting of just 12 "perfect" poems, it was THAT edition which Emerson praised so highly.

Whitman never put out another book... just revision after revision, addition after addition, and edition after edition of Leaves Of Grass... until you wind up with "the deathbed edition" which is a severely bloated and different work from the original.

I was very much looking forward to a slender volume of the original edition. Which is what the item description says this is. It's not. Be forewarned... it's the Deathbed Edition of 1892... nearly 500 pages. And frankly, there are MUCH better versions of the deathbed edition. Sturdier versions with nicer pages exist (this is a pretty weak paperback, printed on pulp pages), with better footnotes and more authoritive introductions. Shop around.

To sum up... the 2 star rating is because lying about which edition this is, is a terrible way to sell the book. Whitman was fantastic and the poetry contained in the book itself is first rate. It just would have been nice to get what I paid for. The "true" editon, written by a YOUNG Whitman at the height of his powers...
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