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Leaves of Grass: The Original 1855 Edition (Dover Thrift Editions) Paperback – 27 Apr 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (27 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486456765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486456768
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 12.7 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 61,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Winner of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books
Winner of the 2014 Type Directors Club Communication Design Award
Praise for "Leaves of Grass"
"I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of "Leaves of Grass." I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet contributed. . . . I rubbed my eyes a little to see if this sunbeam were no illustion; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Praise for Penguin Drop Caps:
"[Penguin Drop Caps] convey a sense of nostalgia for the tactility and aesthetic power of a physical book and for a centuries-old tradition of beautiful lettering."
"Fast Company"
Vibrant, minimalist new typographic covers . Bonus points for the heartening gender balance of the initial selections.
Maria Popova, "Brain Pickings"
"The Penguin Drop Caps series is a great example of the power of design. Why buy these particular classics when there are less expensive, even free editions of "Great Expectations"? Because they re beautiful objects. Paul Buckley and Jessica Hische s fresh approach to the literary classics reduces the design down to typography and color. Each cover is foil-stamped with a cleverly illustrated letterform that reveals an element of the story. Jane Austen s A ("Pride and Prejudice") is formed by opulent peacock feathers and Charlotte Bronte s B ("Jane Eyre") is surrounded by flames. The complete set forms a rainbow spectrum prettier than anything else on your bookshelf."
Rex Bonomelli, "The New York Times"
"Drool-inducing."
"Flavorwire"
"Classic reads in stunning covers your book club will be dying."
"Redbook"" --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From the Inside Flap

Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful." Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced." Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce various short, early versions, this Modern Library Paperback Classics "Death-bed" edition presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form, and includes newly commissioned notes.

"From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 28 July 2001
Format: Paperback
This edition is very different to the later _Leaves of Grass_. Whitman was one of those poets who go on expanding their book of poems throughout their life. (Rather like Baudelaire with his _Flowers of Evil_.) Some people consider the earlier edition superior to the later: certainly it seems more radical, with unhierarchical punctuation (frequent use of . . . .), no titles for the poems, no numbering of sections (Cowley inserts titles and numbering in brackers for ease of reference), and, as the book came to its first readers, no author's name, only an engraving (reproduced in this book) of Whitman in an open shirt and jaunitly cocked hat!
What can anyone have thought opening this unattributed book and turning to the first poem, the 60 pages of what later was called 'Song of Myself''? This immense, fantastic, multi-facated, boastful, ambitious, tender work seems to me a work of art that really justifies the often misused work "original". It's amazing to think that while England had Tennyson, America had
Walt Whitman, an America, one of the roughs, a kosmos,
Disorderly fleshy and sensual . . . . eating drinking and breeding,
No sentimentalist . . . . no stander above men and women or apart from them . . . . no more modest than immodest.
Whitman then shouts:
Unscrew the locks from the doors!
Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!
Whitman represents America at what seems to me its best -- bold, immense, pioneering, multiracial, unsnobbish and unashamed to feel. The first edition is perhaps the best place to meet his poetry, as it isn't diluted by many of the later poems, some of which are very short -- more like epigrams (one-sided) than the many-sided long poems here.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As Amazon still clump together reviews which could related to many different editions- this review is for the 1855 edition, brown/maroon cloth cover with gold inlay by Amereon Limited. I wanted a nice edition of this amazing work. This is not quite it. At first I thought it was a dreaded 'Print on Demand' book. It might well be, I don't know. The paper is ivory acid free and of a good weight. The inlay on the front is scrappy but passable. The huge let down is the print. It is not dark and crisp; it is computer printed text, exactly like the trusty Canon's used to print- in 1989. It is grey and undefined and strains the eyes after a while. Not £15 worth of book, that's for sure. Even my 5 year old printer at home prints superior text to this. What are they thinking? If I met a student studying Whitman, I would give them this copy to make notes in and buy myself a better one. I think I will have to anyway… The hunt goes on...
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Format: Paperback
This is poetry at it's very best, it is truly a life-changing experience. Leaves of grass is a book to treasure for a lifetime, a feast for the heart and mind every time you open it. Whitman's soul is in direct communion with yours as he weaves a tapestry of wonder and joy on every page. His words burn deep and enter into the very fibre of your being and I guarantee that once you are touched by walt's magic you will never be the same...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a facsimile of the 1855 edition.
The illustration given is of the paper jacket. The actual cover is not the embossed version you might imagine and hope for...
Similarly the book size is considerably smaller than the original version and the font etc etc are nothing like the original either.
This is simply the text of the first version of "Leaves of Grass" with an interesting afterword by David S. Reynolds who has also written extensively on Whitman and now provides an admirably precise and concise summary of his life and ideas together with a substantial selection of early reviews about Leaves of Grass and some correspondence concerning the poems.
Over the nature of the "facsimile" itself, despite Professor Reynolds legitimate belief that the edition approximates in many ways to the first edition, I should have realised that to expect a convincing facsimile when I saw the price was so much less than other "facsimile" versions on offer, was totally unrealistic.
This just shows the limitations of the internet - you can't actually see the real product...
Well now I have learned the hard way.....
(Amendment November 20th 2013) Amazon now includes the ability to "look through" a digital copy of the book on the sales page which is tremendously useful for new purchasers. If you want a true facsimile go for the Eakins version or better still The Library of American Poets 2009 edition which looks, weighs and feels like the real thing and has been correctly printed on excellent paper stock with a pressed pressure process to reproduce the authentic feel of the imprinted typeface. The covers of both versions have been beautifully embossed in green and gold like the original copy Whitman hand printed and presented to Emerson. The former is about £40 and the latter around £100 - although in the Amazon marketplace one is available at £29 as I write.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't read this slowly for years and years. Lots of re-reading and much quiet thought. A remarkable man, not easy, very challenging but well worth the effort. Takes the reader away from our consumer culture to something very profound, the transcendence of the self. Whitman tells you to carefully examine all that you have been told and to dismiss what insults your soul. Lots of thinking and reflecting needed.
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