Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman Poetry American History Famous People Social Studies

Walt Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass when he was 36 years old. He never published another book, even though he had doubled his age by the time of his death at age 73.  Instead, he rewrote and expanded Leaves of Grass.

To deliver what would become a famous work of American Literature to the public, Whitman had to publish it himself.  He couldn't find any publishing company willing to take the risk of releasing poetry which was so different from what people were "used to."

Years after the book's 1855 release, the much-loved American writer, Carl Sandburg, gave his opinion of Leaves:

...Leaves of Grass is a book to be owned, kept, loaded, fought over, and read till it is dog-eared and dirty all over. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson was so impressed with the book that he wrote to Whitman:

I greet you at the beginning of a great career.

On the other hand, the book (in its various editions) also received strongly negative reviews, such as this one from the Boston Intelligencer (published on May 3, 1856):

This book should find no place where humanity urges any claim to respect, and the author should be kicked from all decent society as below the level of the brute.  There is neither wit nor method in his disjointed babbling, and it seems to us he must be some escaped lunatic, raving in pitiable delirium.

President Abraham Lincoln loved the book.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5189stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Dec 12, 2019

Media Credits

Bookcover image of Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman, online courtesy Amazon.

All quotes from Carl Sandburg's "Introduction" to the 1921 edition of Leaves of Grass published, in New York, by The Modern Library.


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"Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 12, 2019.
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