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Song of Myself [Kindle Edition]

Walt Whitman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

One of Walt Whitman's most loved and greatest poems, "Song of Myself" is an optimistic and inspirational look at the world. Originally published as part of "Leaves of Grass" in 1855, "Song of Myself" is as accessible and important today as when it was first written. Read "Song of Myself" and enjoy a true poetic masterpiece.

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Product Details

  • File Size: 202 KB
  • Print Length: 82 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 142092706X
  • Publisher: (December 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,607 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
As with so much of Stephen Mitchell's work, the most important thing is to know what it is before you buy it. It may be exactly what you want, or it may be just the opposite; there's usually not much room in between.
In the present case, Mitchell has done something that some readers might consider pretty hubristic and perhaps even sacrilegious: he has produced an edited version of Walt Whitman's great "Song of Myself" that corresponds to no published version whatsoever.
How? Well, he started with the original (1855) edition of the poem, and then considered _every single change_ Whitman ever made in the poem clear up to his death in 1892. If Mitchell thought the change improved the poem, he left it in; if not, not. The result, for obvious reasons, is a "Song of Myself" that Whitman himself never actually wrote.
That's _not_ necessarily a bad thing. I respect Mitchell's taste and judgment, and I happen to agree with him that some of Whitman's later alterations made the poem worse. In fact I think Mitchell's edition is extremely fine.
But some readers may be looking for a version of "Song of Myself" that reflects Whitman's taste and judgment rather than Mitchell's. So let the buyer be aware.
At any rate I share Mitchell's high estimation of this poem and I'm happy that he's published his edition of it. Whitman belongs with Emerson and Thoreau on a shortlist of great American sages; this single poem is a large part of the reason why.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book, remakable, the reviews? I am confused. July 3, 2007
Special preview note:

I have to say these reviews confuse me because I see nothing about Stephen Mitchell in the book I hold in my hands. I don't know where the reference comes from at all, so I am going to write as if I don't know what the reviewers are using as a reference to Mitchell... and now I see, those reviewers were reading an entirely different version of the book - so if you are interested in the Dover edition, my review stands. If you are looking at the Shambala edition, what I say still stands, for the most part... except I haven't read the Mitchell edits and now I understand some of the disdain! And it makes me VERY curious, would like to read both versions side-by-side.)

From the preface: This dover edition, first published in 2001, is a unabridged republication from the first 1855 edition of "Leaves of Grass."

I sat here, today, re-reading some of the sections I had highlighted from my first read of this epic-length-poem. I wondered, "What would the world be like if each of us took the time to write a 'Song of Myself' according to our own witness of the world we live within?

Walt Whitman does exactly that in this poem - he doesn't seek to be understood, he doesn't seek to please the reader, he is simply being present to his world and then capture his meandering path into words and serve it onto the page.

Then it is up to us, as the readers, to take our spoon-fuls of Whitman and savor each one.

There is much to be learned, experienced, enjoyed, discovered in these words within this very slim volume. Savor each one and consider writing your own song.

Now I am off to begin mine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Like a flight around the world (but a little breezy) December 5, 2005
By Snick77
Reading Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself," he seems to have lived a thousand years and not yet lost his innocence. The "Song of Myself" reads as a inventory of the earth's "plenty," or as a benevolent God might observe his people. Whitman is a celebrant of all things earthy and American. I believe he is correct when he says, "These are really the thoughts of all men in all ages and lands, they are not original with me," (354) but Whitman is certainly the first to collect all of these thoughts and record them so together and beautifully. He seems like an Eastern philosopher at times when he speaks of the cycles of earth.

He is high on life; a little too much at times, perhaps. In victory and defeat he finds joy. His candidness about his acceptance of women and men, races and creeds, seems ahead of its time.

The descriptions of the motion of life in sections 15, 31, and 33 (and many others) paints a picture of constant energy across the land and surrounding sea. He moves from line to line as he sweeps across the land, profiling the deck-hand, the paving man, the conductor, the drover, and these words are rich in images for us to imagine the era he lived in.

To read this poem in our age of instant electronic connectivity, we cannot quite carry the tune as well. So many of these occupations have faded away, we have left the fields for office space.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
How can Stephen Mitchell even think of such an abberation - editing Walt Whitman's greatest poem? Sure, there are several versions of the Song of Myself, but if you want to read Whitman, read the original. The first version is the most powerful, and Whitman toned it down over the years, turning it into "poetry" rather than his initial burst of enthusiasm. There are several editions of the poem that will let you get the true texts: for example, the Library of America's complete Whitman has both the first version of Leaves of Grass and the "deathbed" version, which Whitman revised shortly before his death. There are other versions throughout Whitman's career, as he added poems to the Leaves, and tinkered with existing poems. But this book is a sham. Avoid it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Portable Joy
I was delighted to find a "carryable" copy of my favorite poem in one book. I plan to commit the work to memory, so having a light, single poem copy makes it easy to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Linda
1.0 out of 5 stars WASTE OF MONEY!!! good material, but not formatted or even edited even...
WASTE OF MONEY!!! good material, but not formatted or even edited even once. So many simple mistakes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Buy The Death Bed Edition
Published 12 months ago by James R Collier
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful "biography"!
Walt Whitman was such a beautiful poet! This book shows his readers how much he was influenced by the world around him. Read more
Published 13 months ago by caxsavage
2.0 out of 5 stars Typographical Errors
I LOVE the poetry, but this edition has typographical errors, some of them pretty important. An example: In the middle of section 6, a line reads "And now it seems to me the... Read more
Published 14 months ago by aynnej
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent piece of literature.
Excellent reading. Very well written and easy to stay involved. I recommend this to everyone who wants to improve their vocabulary or just learn about the depth of detail that... Read more
Published on February 21, 2011 by Timothy
3.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Song of Myself is an enjoyable, circuitous trek through the United States of the mid-19th century - and the very human feelings and observations are still true and now.
Published on July 11, 2010 by Gregg Schroeder
5.0 out of 5 stars Whitman's Masterpiece
Song of Myself is Walt Whitman's masterpiece and thus one of the greatest poems ever. The major work in the initial Leaves of Grass edition, he labored on it until the final 1881... Read more
Published on April 26, 2010 by Bill R. Moore
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the greatest American poem
I always have this book in my travel bag. Hiking the John Muir trail - perfect. A cafe in Budapest - perfect. The Shinkansen train in Japan - perfect. Read more
Published on April 4, 2007 by D. Erwin
3.0 out of 5 stars costly
this book is only 1.50 if you buy it in a store, its not worth the shipping and handeling
Published on February 23, 2007 by Alyson Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Whitman Audio - Read by Orson Welles
Walt Whitman may have recorded one short poem on an Edison cylinder before his death in 1892. This recording presents Orson Welles reciting significant passages from the long poem... Read more
Published on December 20, 2005 by Kenneth Sherwood
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More About the Author

Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, near Huntington, Long Island, New York. On July 4, 1855, the first edition of Leaves of Grass, the volume of poems that for the next four decades would become his lifes work, was placed on sale. Although some critics treated the volume as a joke and others were outraged by its unprecedented mixture of mysticism and earthiness, the book attracted the attention of some of the finest literary intelligences. His poetry slowly achieved a wide readership in America and in England, where he was praised by Swinburne and Tennyson. (D. H. Lawrence later referred to Whitman as the"greatest modern poet, and"the greatest of Americans. Whitman suffered a stroke in 1873 and was forced to retire to Camden, New Jersey, where he would spend the last twenty years of his life. There he continued to write poetry, and in 1881 the seventh edition of Leaves of Grass was published to generally favorable reviews. However, the book was soon banned in Boston on the grounds that it was obscene literature. In January 1892 the final edition of Leaves of Grass appeared on sale, and Whitman's life work was complete. He died two months later on the evening of March 26, 1892, and was buried four days afterward at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden.


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