From Leaves of Grass to "Song of Myself," all of Whitman's poetry in one volume
In 1855 Walt Whitman published Leaves of Grass, the work that defined him as one of America’s most influential voices and that he added to throughout his life. A collection of astonishing originality and intensity, it spoke of politics, sexual emancipation, and what it meant to be an American. From the joyful “Song of Myself” and “I Sing the Body Electric” to the elegiac “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” Whitman’s art fuses oratory, journalism, and song in a vivid celebration of humanity. Containing all Whitman’s known poetic work, this edition reprints the final, or “deathbed,” edition of Leaves of Grass (1891–92). Earlier versions of many poems are also given, including the 1855 “Song of Myself.”
• Includes chronology, updated suggestions for further reading, and extensive notes
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.11(w) x 7.82(h) x 1.59(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was born on Long Island and educated in Brooklyn, New York. He served as a printer's devil, journeyman compositor, itinerant schoolteacher, editor, and unofficial nurse to Northern and Southern soldiers.
Francis Murphy is a professor emeritus of English at Smith College.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love having the complete works all in one cover. I own other Whitman books that are more focused, but this is my "go-to copy." For one thing, it's edited better than so many versions of any poet's work. (N.B. The minus one half has to do with a couple small problems in the editing, rather than with the poetry itself.) With Whitman making changes constantly in his early "printings" of Leaves of Grass and adding onto it through his lifetime, it's impossible to know exactly what he wanted. (Perhaps on different days, he wanted different things.) It also should give any aspiring poet some good vibes to know that "the quintessential American poet" was forced to publish his own poetry. I'm enthralled by some of the notes here, despite the age of them. I love reading the various changes in his work and sometimes understanding exactly why, other times thinking he'd have done well to leave it alone (no pun intended.) No matter how many other copies I get, this one will remain in my forever library. It's not only a good edition of the complete works, but it's a helpful resource for lovers of poetry or students reading this work for the first time. It's also a joy to simply pop open a page and read. I've not perused every single edition of the complete poems, but for a simple reader who loves poetry, this edition offers a lot.I haven't spoken much about the work itself, and that is because I think every reader will discover whether or not this poetry (or any poetry) is a "good fit" for themselves. There is a lot to discover between these two covers. Not all of Whitman's poetry is as trumpet-like as "Song of Myself" or "I sing the Body Electric." So if it's more quiet intensity or solemnity you seek, that can be found here as well. Even at his worst, (and in any complete collection, there will be some "worsts,") Whitman has a stunning command of diction, describes beauty and sensuality in a way that catches my breath. Lyrical, expansive, mournful then euphoric, his rhythms are flexible yet measured and often demand reading aloud. In moments of despair, I learned to whisper poetry to myself in my youth, and some of Whitman's are in that memorized repertoire. Certain poems never cease to make shivers run down my back. There's a freedom, an open sensuality and gusto that live in these words. Add to it all of the information about Whitman's sexuality and what must have been a much restricted world, and the joy and freedom become even more astonishing. Everyone American should read Walt Whitman. We don't have to like him, but at least we can recognize how much of an historical figure he truly is. I believe this volume will open many eyes to exactly that.
Whitman is THE American poet. He is flightly, obnoxious, full of himself and thoroughly delightful. this is a wonderful collection. Sometimes I wish I had a pocket edition of Song of Myself, but then everytime I open this, I find a new gem.