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Some of the dimmest years in Walt Whitman's life precede the advent of Leaves of Grass in 1855, when he was working as a journalist and fiction writer. Starting around 1850, what he'd begun writing in his personal notebooks was far more enigmatic than anything he'd done before.One of Whitman's most secretive projects during this time frame was a novel, Life and Adventures of Jack Engle; serialized anonymously in the spring of 1852, and rediscovered and properly published in 2017. The key to the novel's later discovery were plot notes Whitman had made in one of his private notebooks. Whitman's invaluable notebooks have been virtually inaccessible to the public, until now. Maintaining the early notebooks' wild, syncretic feel and sample illustrations of Whitman's beautiful and unkempt pages, scholars Zachary Turpin and Matt Miller's thorough transcriptions have made these notebooks available to all; sharing Whitman's secret space for developing his poetry, his writing, his philosophy, and himself.
This book offers the most comprehensive and detailed reading to date of Song of Myself. One of the most distinguished critics in Whitman studies, Ed Folsom, and one of the nation's most prominent writers and literary figures, Christopher Merrill, carry on a dialog with Whitman, and with each other, section by section, as they invite readers to enter into the conversation about how the poem develops, moves, improvises, and surprises. Instead of picking and choosing particular passages to support a reading of the poem, Folsom and Merrill take Whitman at his word and interact with every atom of his work. The book presents Whitman's final version of the poem, arranged in fifty-two sections; each section is followed by Folsom's detailed critical examination of the passage, and then Merrill offers a poet's perspective, suggesting broader contexts for thinking about both the passage in question and the entire poem.
From one of the most celebrated American poets, Walt Whitman, comes a profound and uniquely written anthology of poems. Leaves of Grass is a rousing collection of poems inspired largely by Ralph Waldo Emerson's plea for the arrival of a great new American Poet. Originally published in 1855, Whitman worked on this collection of poems for the entirety of his life. He continued to revise and make better his anthology; in its final publication Leaves of Grass contained over 400 pages of remarkable poetry. The poems within reflected many of Whitman's values and beliefs, specifically pertaining to his philosophy of transcendentalism and the role of man within nature. Unafraid of straying from normal conventions of poetry, Whitman's work is considered to be one of the most important and lasting contributions to literature made by an American poet.
The young journalist and reformer Horace Traubel visited Whitman nearly every day at his home in Camden, New Jersey. Whitman liked to talk, especially about the big issues, spiritual, political - all he'd learned over seven decades of peace and war. To mark the bicentenary of Walt Whitman's death, Carcanet presents Brenda Wineapple's distillation from these conversations with the great American poet. Whitman speaks from the heart, an old man who changed the course of American poetry and, by extension, the poetries of Europe, Asia, Latin America. Here, too, is the poet's worldly side - recalling the opprobrium heaped on Leaves of Grass for its poetic risks and sexual frankness; memories of Thoreau, Emerson and Lincoln; his judgments of Shakespeare, Goethe and Tolstoy; and his sense of the Nation.
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