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Leaves of Grass (Oxford World's Classics) [Paperback]

Walt Whitman , Jerome Loving
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

21 May 1998 Oxford World's Classics
Whitman is today regarded as America's Homer or Dante, and his work the touchstone for literary originality in the New World. In Leaves of Grass, he abandoned the rules of traditional poetry - breaking the standard metred line, discarding the obligatory rhyming scheme, and using the vernacular. Emily Dickinson condemned his sexual and physiological allusions as `disgraceful', but Emerson saw the book as the `most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed'. A century later it is his judgement of this autobiographical vision of the vigour of the American nation that has proved the more enduring. This is the most up-to-date edition for student use, with full critical apparatus.

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks (21 May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192834096
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192834096
  • Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 12.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 954,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Its convenience is outstanding and can easily fit into a coat pocket. Yet the print is civilized and the accompanying editorial and biographical material, first-rate. I plan to use it and to recommentd it."--David Baldwin, Hartwick College"Introduction in a valuable critical contribution."--Cameron Nickels, James Madison University"I have used several of the Oxford World's Classics in my courses, and I like them very much. They are well edited, but equally important, they are pleasant books to hold and read, more so than Penguin and Signet. When I have a choice, I go for the Oxford World's Classics."--Kelley Griffith, University of North Carolina"Very nice reprint. The introduction is well written and informative."--Jeff Cupp, Troy State University

About the Author

Walt Whitman was is perhaps the most important poet in American history. He remains a poetic visionary with unrivaled insight into the human condition. The Complete 1891-92 Edition is his final collection of his life's work and it will forever remain one of the most important books ever written. J. M. Beach is a lecturer at the University of Texas, San Antonio. He has advanced degrees in English, History, Philosophy, and Education. He has been a teacher and educational administrator for over fifteen years. Beach has taught many subjects in the Humanities to a broad range of students, from pre-school all the way to university, in public and private schools, in the U.S., South Korea, and China. Previously Beach was a Lecturer at Oregon State University, the University of California, and at several community colleges in Southern California and Central Texas. Beach's scholarly research focuses on several distinct, but interrelated subjects: The philosophy of knowledge, the science of culture and social institutions, the history and philosophy of education, and literature. Beach is also a published poet. Links to his books, articles, and conference papers can be found at his website at www.jmbeach.com. Follow his blogs at jmbeach.blogspot.com and 21stcenturycanon.blogspot.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Come, said my Soul, Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware! 3 Jan 2014
By Adrian Drew TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There is much confusion over this edition! DO NOT BUY until you have checked with the seller it is the actual edition you want. Despite carefully checking in advance - I was sent a modern reprint NOT the wonderful Library of American Poets edition actually advertised! Amazon sorted it out for me but I could not purchase the edition on Amazon I wanted and ended up using a specialist antiquarian book site who really knew what they were doing! Despite it's generally excellent service, Amazon do not always seem to be able to differentiate between editions of books or DVDs, and everything, including reviews, end up being lumped together - often with disastrous results such as I have experienced - for its customers. So many people have complained about this so I cannot see why Amazon do not correct the problem.

If you want the true product listed above - The Library of American Poets facsimile - and there now seems to be one real edition available at 90 - rest assured it's a wonderfully produced copy and in its size, weight, type press setting etc, provides you with a book as near to the original as you could ever hope for - or afford!! It's like holding the actual publication Whitman produced - for he typeset, printed and bound the original copies himself!
This facsimile is a wonderful, and much prized, artifact.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  277 reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What More Can Be Said? 26 Sep 2007
By M. Meszaros - Published on Amazon.com
It's difficult to think of something appropriate to say about a man who spent his life trying to express the panorama of humanity through the lense of his own heart. From a drop of blood to the grandeur of a shipyard or a continent, he takes all readers on a journey wild with raving, raging, sorrow, longing, humbleness and pride. At once he is totally modern and yet rife with history.

For readers new to poetry, Walt Whitman is wonderfully accessible. One can pick up Leaves of Grass and virtually start and stop anywhere and pick up something wonderful every time.

Not to be missed.
141 of 156 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential American poetry 4 Mar 2001
By Chad M. Brick - Published on Amazon.com
Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" is a collection of some of the finest American free-verse poetry ever written. Outward from his home on Brooklyn, Whitman soars out over our great nation, painting a sweeping portrait of mid-nineteenth century America and its diverse inhabitants. Whitman covers a panorama of ideas and themes, from lofty, aloof musings on the nature of man, to piercing depictions of the horrors of war. Gems of wisdom hang from Whitman's web of of verse like dew drops - easy to see but hard to grasp. This is a powerful work, and a never-ending source of beauty. Unfortunately for me, I am not a big fan of free verse, making this work harder for me to enjoy than I had hoped.
Which edition do I recommend? That really depends on what you are looking for. If you are just interested in getting a taste of Whitman, I would recommend some of the abridged versions. I don't feel that reading all 700+ pages of Whitman's poetry is necessary for anyone but his biggest fans and students. For a complete version, I found the Modern Library edition acceptable, but nothing spectacular. This work has a multitude of editions, and I would recommend actually holding them in your hand before making a decision on which best suits your needs.
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best American Poet's Best Book and The Best Living American Critic 7 Sep 2005
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
The 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass was the first and the best.

When I was young I bought the big deathbed edition, not knowing about the 1855 one. I became a Whitman disciple. Either version is a good place to start, but the 1855 is the best version of the early poems and a fine introduction to W.W.

The 1855 version was ignored for quite a long time in Whitman studies, but started recieving critical attention after Malcolm Cowley worked to revive it in the 1950's. It was his version that used to be available, until recently, as a Penguin Classic.

So whats the difference between 1855 and the Deathbed one?

Throughout his lifetime, Whitman not only expanded LOG, his only book, with gobs of inferior-- and sometimes truly awful-- poems (especially when he was older) but he also revised many of his early poems for later editions-- revising them almost always for the worse.

The 1855 edition is realtively short and reflects the diminutive, obscure quality of the original. The poems are full of Whitman's original fire before he tinkered with them.

Bloom, the author of the introduction, is in the estimation of many America's best living literary critic. He profoundly knows and adores Walt Whitman.

If you have the slightest interest in reading American Poetry,drop whatever you are reading (unless it is perhaps Dickinson or Emerson) and get this book. It's still America's best. Nothing since has been (and nothing will ever be) better. The only American poets after Whitman who mattered were deep readers of LOG: Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, TS Eliot, John Ashbury. (A Ginsberg, C. Sandberg, and O. Paz resemble him superficially but they are are wonks.)

If you are interested later in getting all of Whitman's poems, skip all the in-between editions and get the 'Deathbed' Version, which has many good and important poems like 'When Lilacs Last in The Dooryard Bloomed' and 'As I Ebbed with the Ocean of Life'-- as well as many bad ones, to go with your 1855.

The Deathbed Version (Whitman approved it as the final Version of his one book as he lay dying) is probably close to ten times as long as the 1855 edition.

But Whitman got it right in 1855.
205 of 238 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars MISREPRESENTATION: This is 1892 Deathbed Edition! 14 Mar 2006
By Phil Padwe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although the poems are beautiful... and I certainly don't mean to bash Whitman with this 2-star rating... it's the wrong book. NOT AS ADVERTISED. This was supposed to be the original 1855 edition. That's what I expected, and therefore (in my mind) what I was paying for. The original 1855 edition, according to modern literary analysis, was the "strongest/purest" version. It was the true starting point of Whitman's own (and consequently America's) poetic awakening. Consisting of just 12 "perfect" poems, it was THAT edition which Emerson praised so highly.

Whitman never put out another book... just revision after revision, addition after addition, and edition after edition of Leaves Of Grass... until you wind up with "the deathbed edition" which is a severely bloated and different work from the original.

I was very much looking forward to a slender volume of the original edition. Which is what the item description says this is. It's not. Be forewarned... it's the Deathbed Edition of 1892... nearly 500 pages. And frankly, there are MUCH better versions of the deathbed edition. Sturdier versions with nicer pages exist (this is a pretty weak paperback, printed on pulp pages), with better footnotes and more authoritive introductions. Shop around.

To sum up... the 2 star rating is because lying about which edition this is, is a terrible way to sell the book. Whitman was fantastic and the poetry contained in the book itself is first rate. It just would have been nice to get what I paid for. The "true" editon, written by a YOUNG Whitman at the height of his powers...
102 of 117 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Incomparable Masterpiece 5 Feb 2000
By clang_the_o - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Words cannot describe the complexity of Leaves of Grass. I am constantly amazed at how well Walt Whitman holds it all together, keeping is hand on one object while amorously praising another. Everything works in perfect cohesion...An unabashed love of self, of nature, of all that is divine and not divine. Leaves of Grass is a truly inspired work...its words are boundless and fluent, rising in an intoxicating crescendo of naked emotion. "I am the poet of the Body; and I am the poet of the Soul." Throughout Leaves of Grass there is an overwhelming theme of unity...unity of man and nature, of man and man, of man and God. Excitable sputterings of ageless wisdom become scattered, but somehow stay anchored to the intricate framework of the book. This sounds contradicting, and it is reminiscent of a line from the book --"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; (I am large-I contain multitudes.) After reading this book, you will delight in how large Walt Whitman is.
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