Leaves of Grass

Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman - click to see full size image

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Leaves of Grass is a compilation of poems by the American poet Walt Whitman, first published in 1855. Though the first edition was a small book of 12 poems, Whitman basically spent most of his professional life revising it and adding to it. This Global Grey edition is based on the 1892 final edition published, with around 400 poems. Leaves of Grass was essentially the author's celebration of his own philosophy of life, including the role of humans in nature. It was also controversial for it's sexual imagery and is notable for it's poems about sensual pleasures. When it was first published, Whitman's boss read it and found it so offensive that he fired Whitman. Considering that it is still a very popular book, back then it was roundly slammed by critics. Thomas Wentworth Higginson said 'It is no discredit to Walt Whitman that he wrote Leaves of Grass, only that he did not burn it afterwards.' A review in one newspaper advised that Whitman commit suicide, and another said that Whitman was guilty of 'that horrible sin not to be mentioned among Christians' - which was one of the first public mentions of Whitman being a homosexual. However, during WWII, it was distributed to soldiers by the American government, in the hope that some of Whitman's nationalism expressed in his poetry would inspire them in protecting their country.

Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

This book has 122,498 words, 596 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1855. This edition was first published in 1892.

Production notes: This ebook of Leaves of Grass was published by Global Grey on the 23rd August 2018, and updated on the 26th February 2023. The artwork used for the cover is 'Green Field' by Vincent van Gogh.

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