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Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass (1855)

by Walt Whitman, Lawrence Clark Powell (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,95864728 (4.13)1 / 288
G.K. Chesterton argued that Walt Whitman is the greatest American. Leaves of Grass, first published in 1855 and augmented every few years until the poet's death in 1892, is his masterpiece. It was greeted by Ralph Waldo Emerson as "the wonderful gift ... the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed."… (more)

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English (51)  Spanish (7)  Italian (2)  Romanian (1)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
yes, its beautiful and inspiring and whatnot

i suppose i dont feel like walt's radical equanimity and universal love have much to offer the present moment in the US. like, ya i get that it must have been super subversive for the time, thats rad and all, but walt only gets as far as "mb... criminals and poor ppl r not bad," never quite reaching "mb... police and rich ppl r bad"

yes im being reductive but frankly idgaf. like, this sort of even-handedness can only do so much, can only go so far. at least nietzsche transforms his ultra-individualism into a clarion call for action and vibrant life. i certainly like walt's sort of existentialism better than nietzsche's, but damn walt just makes it so fucking BORING, so content w the world as it is! nietzsche, in his refutation of schopenhauer and the dharmic traditions, attempted to find a role for striving, for desire, for ego within the physical world of direct unmediated sensation. when this centered direction is taken out of existentialism, we're left w a bland acceptance of the world of illusions, a sad refusal to acknowledge to reality of suffering that suffuses all, in its horrifying depth

several passages reminded me of this famous dril tweet:

the wise man bowed his head solemnly and spoke: "theres actually zero difference between good and bad things. you imbecile. you fucking moron." (June 1, 2014) ( )
1 vote alexanme | May 30, 2019 |
A little inspiration from Whitman:

To be honest, I have not read this all the way through, only about 40% of the book. I don't like to read this heavy collection of poetry in just one go, it is meant to be read slowly, so I am taking my time. The five-star rating is for the first part, and it seems the rest deserves a five too.


Poems of my body and of mortality,
For I think I shall then supply myself with the poems of my soul and
of immortality

( )
  iSatyajeet | Nov 21, 2018 |
A little inspiration from Whitman:

To be honest, I have not read this all the way through, only about 40% of the book. I don't like to read this heavy collection of poetry in just one go, it is meant to be read slowly, so I am taking my time. The five-star rating is for the first part, and it seems the rest deserves a five too.


Poems of my body and of mortality,
For I think I shall then supply myself with the poems of my soul and
of immortality

( )
  iSatyajeet | Nov 21, 2018 |
I feel like I read it after reading Paper Towns! ( )
  ksmedberg | Aug 15, 2018 |
3.5 stars. ( )
  UDT | May 1, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Whitman's verse-technique is still of interest to the prosodist. His basic rhythm is an epic one—the Virgilian dactyl-spondee—and his line often hexametric. He sometimes sounds like Clough's Amours de Voyage, though it would be hard to imagine a greater disparity of tone and attitude than that which subsists between these two Victorians. Nevertheless, both Clough and Whitman saw that the loose hexameter could admit the contemporary and sometimes the colloquial..

He has only one subject—acceptance of the life-death cycle and reverence for it—and, since he uses an invariable technique, Leaves of Grass has a unity to be found in few other poets' collected volumes... But Whitman's aim is rather to present a universal democratic vista in terms of the American myth. The America of his poems sometimes seems as symbolic as that of Blake, and the bearded figure that strides across it with a big hello—the Answerer, all things to all men—is as much a home-made archetype as the Giant Albion.
added by SnootyBaronet | editObserver, Anthony Burgess
Nature may have given the hint to the author of the "Leaves of Grass", but there exists no book or fragment of a book, which can have given the hint to them. All beauty, he says, comes from beautiful blood and a beautiful brain... Who then is that insolent unknown? Who is it, praising himself as if others were not fit to do it, and coming rough and unbidden among writers to unsettle what was settled, and to revolutionize, in fact, our modern civilization?

You have come in good time, Walt Whitman! In opinions, in manners, in costumes, in books, in the aims and occupancy of life, in associates, in poems, conformity to all unnatural and tainted customs passes without remark, while perfect naturalness, health, faith, self-reliance, and all primal expressions of the manliest love and friendship, subject one to the stare and controversy of the world.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe United States Review, Walt Whitman (Sep 1, 1855)

» Add other authors (153 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Walt Whitmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Powell, Lawrence ClarkEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Angelo, ValentiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Babcock, Clarence MertonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniel, Lewis C.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holloway, EmoryEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaplan, JustinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kent, RockwellIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kouwenhoven, John A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Loving, JeromeEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spanfeller, JimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Come, said my Soul,
Such verses for my Body let us write, (for we are one,)
That should I after death invisibly return,
Or, long, long hence, in other spheres,
There to some group of mates the chants resuming,
(Tallying Earth's soil, trees, winds, tumultuous waves,)
Ever with pleas'd smile I may keep on,
Ever and ever yet the verses owning - as, first, I here and now
Signing for Soul and Body, set to them my name,
Walt Whitman
First words
One's-self I sing, a simple separate person,
Yet utter the word Democratic, the word En-masse.
I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.
Melange mine own, the unseen and the seen,
Mysterious ocean where the streams empty,
Prophetic spirit of materials shifting and flickering around me,
Living beings, identities now doubtless near us in the air that we know not of,
Contact daily and hourly that will not release me,
These selecting, these in hints demanded of me.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
Whitman revised Leaves of Grass at numerous points in his lifetime, frequently with significant changes between editions. (e.g. 93 pages for the original 1855 edition vs. 439 pages for the final 1891-92 edition.)  This work contains those entries for which the edition is unknown.

If your edition is here and you know which version it is, please separate it and combine it with the correct entry.
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Book description
Un ritratto, un testo in prosa e dodici poesie: così nascevano nel 1855, le prime "Foglie d'erba", in cui Emerson ravvisò immediatamente "l'esempio più straordinario di intelligenza e di saggezza che l'America abbia sin qui offerto". Le "Foglie" avrebbero continuato a crescere per il resto della vita di Whitman, attraverso otto ulteriori edizioni, fino a diventare quel massiccio, monumentale volume che l'autore consacrò, "sul letto di morte", come definitivo e inalterabile. Ma è nel 1855 che, con le prime "Foglie", nasce un poeta. E' qui che Whitman supera i vincoli formali di metro, rima, strofa, punteggiatura, per affidarsi a un vagabondaggio della mente e dei sensi.
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Average: (4.13)
1 18
1.5 7
2 39
2.5 4
3 171
3.5 17
4 322
4.5 33
5 459

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014303927X, 0451529731

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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