Synopses & Reviews
I am large, I contain multitudes”
When Walt Whitman self-published his Leaves of Grass in July 1855, he altered the course of literary history. One of the greatest masterpieces of American literature, it redefined the rules of poetry while describing the soul of the American character. Throughout his great career, Whitman continuously revised, expanded, and republished Leaves of Grass, but many critics believe that the book that matters most is the 1855 original. Penguin Classics proudly presents that text in its original and complete form, with an introductory essay by the writer and poet Malcolm Cowley.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 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.
“Whitman, the great poet, has meant so much to me. Whitman the one man breaking a way ahead. Whitman the one pioneer . . . Ahead of Whitman, nothing. Ahead of all poets, pioneering into the wilderness of unopened life, Whitman. Beyond him, none.” —D. H. Lawrence
This reprinting of the first edition of "Leaves of Grass" contains the original 12 poems and Whitman's introduction in which he states his poetic credo. It includes Malcolm Cowley's commentary, first published in 1959.
"Leaves of Grass" inaugurated a new voice, style, and optimistic, bombastic vision into American letters, one that took the nation itself as subject. Unlike many other editions of "Leaves of Grass", which reproduce various short early editions, our new "Deathbed" version presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form.
This is the original and complete 1855 edition of one of the greatest masterpieces of American literature, including Whitman's own introduction to the work.
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.
Malcolm Cowley (18981989) a leadiing literary figure of his time, wrote numerous books of literary criticism, essays, and poetry.