Leaves of Grass: First and Death-Bed Editions

      Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass: First and

When Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855 as a slim tract of twelve untitled poems, Walt Whitman was still an unknown. But his self-published volume soon became a landmark of poetry, introducing the world to a new and uniquely American form. The "father of free verse," Whitman drew upon the cadence of simple, even idiomatic speech to "sing" such themes as democracy, sexuality, and frank autobiography.

Throughout his prolific writing career, Whitman continually revised his work and expanded Leaves of Grass, which went through nine, substantively different editions, culminating in the final, authoritative "Death-bed Edition." Now the original 1855 version and the "Death-bed Edition" of 1892 have been brought together in a single volume, allowing the reader to experience the total scope of Whitman's genius, which produced love lyrics, visionary musings, glimpses of nightmare and ecstasy, celebrations of the human body and spirit, and poems of loneliness, loss, and mourning.

Alive with the mythical strength and vitality that epitomized the American experience in the nineteenth century, Leaves of Grass continues to inspire, uplift, and unite those who read it.

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    Alone on the Beach at Night

      Walt Whitman
Alone on the Beach at Night

'All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages...'

A selection taken from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass

Introducing Little Black Classics: 80 books for Penguin's 80th birthday. Little Black Classics celebrate the huge range and diversity of Penguin Classics, with books from around the world and across many centuries. They take us from a balloon ride over Victorian London to a garden of blossom in Japan, from Tierra del Fuego to 16th century California and the Russian steppe. Here are stories lyrical and savage; poems epic and intimate; essays satirical and inspirational; and ideas that have shaped the lives of millions.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892). Whitman's works available in Penguin Classics are Leaves of Grass and The Complete Poems.

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    Specimen Days & Collect

      Walt Whitman
Specimen Days & Collect

Whitman’s uniquely revealing impressions of the people, places, and events of his time—with a brilliant new introduction by Leslie Jamison, author of the bestselling *The Empathy Exams*.

One of the most creative and individual poets America has produced, Walt Whitman was also a prolific diarist, note-taker, and essayist whose intimate observations and reflections have profoundly deepened understanding of nineteenth-century American life. Specimen Days and Collect, first published in 1882, is a choice collection of Whitman’s uniquely revealing impressions of the people, places, and events of his time, principally the era of the Civil War and its aftermath.

On page after page, a vast panorama of American life unfolds, and with it rare glimpse of Whitman as poet, empathetic observer, and romantic wanderer. From his years as a wartime nurse in Washington, D.C., come touching glimpses of the dead and dying in military hospitals, memories of Abraham Lincoln, and vivid impressions of the nation’s capital in a time of great crisis.

Whitman’s travel yields memorable recollections of Boston, the Hudson Valley, a walk through Central Park, Niagara Falls, the City of Denver, and more. Along with the famed essay “Democratic Vistas,” there are scenes from the poet’s childhood, touching tributes to songbirds, wildflowers, friendship and freedom; impressions of the music of Beethoven, reflections on a last visit to Emerson, the deaths of Lincoln and Longfellow and the painful process of aging.

Deeply felt and vividly expressed, Specimen Days and Collect is a richly rewarding experience, a rare excursion into the mind and heard of one of America’s greatest poets—and the America his poetry so richly commemorated.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition

      Walt Whitman
Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition

Walt Whitman worked as a nurse in an army hospital during the Civil War and published Drum-Taps, his war poems, as the war was coming to an end. Later, the book came out in an expanded form, including “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd,” Whitman's passionate elegy for Lincoln. The most moving and enduring poetry to emerge from America’s most tragic conflict, Drum-Taps also helped to create a new, modern poetry of war, a poetry not just of patriotic exhortation but of somber witness. Drum-Taps is thus a central work not only of the Civil War but of our war-torn times.

But Drum-Taps as readers know it from Leaves of Grass is different from the work of 1865. Whitman cut and reorganized the book, reducing its breadth of feeling and raw immediacy. This edition, the first to present the book in its original form since its initial publication 150 years ago, is a revelation, allowing one of Whitman’s greatest achievements to appear again in all its troubling glory.

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