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Leaves of Grass, 1860: The 150th Anniversary Facsimile Edition (Iowa Whitman Series) Paperback – September 1, 2009
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In short, if you're looking to be zapped full-force by Whitman's big, friendly voice and inclusive, evolutionary vision, the 1860 edition is Whitman at the absolute peak of his powers. For those looking for an edition of "Leaves" that contains the very best of the 1860 edition plus the juiciest poems from his later years, I strongly recommend "Walt Whitman: Selected Poems 1855 - 1892," edited by Gary Schmidgall.
Reading Whitman is always an exhilarating experience but when reading from this facsimile edition put out by the University of Iowa Press, there's a touch of something else - a sense of history. The introduction by antebellum historian and Whitman scholar Jason Stacy does an excellent job of situating the collection within its historical framework, showing clearly the issues that Whitman was trying to address and how he proposed to do so.
One of Whitman's central ideas for preserving the Union was fervent brotherhood as portrayed in "Calamus," a poem regarding love between men but which gains a deeper political meaning in the 1860 edition:
Were you looking to be held together by the lawyers?
By an agreement on a paper? Or by arms? . . .
There shall from me be a new friendship - It shall
be called after my name,
It shall circulate through the States, indifferent of
place . . .
Affection shall solve every one of the problems of
Those who love each other shall be invincible,
They shall finally make America completely
victorious, in my name.
One from Massachusettes shall be comrade to a Missourian,
One from Main or Vermont, and a Carolinian and
an Orgonese, shall be friends triune, more precious
to each other than all the riches of the earth.Read more ›
interested in the evolution of the written word, the human Spirit
and Walt Whitman to pore over this book, and, to see it, and read it
as it was created by the man himself - then decide if you too will become
I also recommendWalt Whitman and the Civil War: America's Poet during the Lost Years of 1860-1862
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book no longer has it's shock value as frank talk of sex, straight or gay, is commonplace. Therefore there is no forbidden delight in teaching or studying it except to show... Read morePublished on June 26, 2013 by Karl Giese