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.
About the Author
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was an American poet, journalist, and essayist most remembered for his rejection of poetic form restrictions and writing in free verse. Some of his other writings include Franklin Evans and Democratic Vistas.
William Carlos Williams (1883 1963), author of Paterson and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Pictures from Brueghel, is widely considered one of the greatest poets of the twentieth century. Also a short-story writer, novelist, essayist, and translator, he helped in a big way to establish modernism in America.
"Whitman's best poems have that permanent quality of being freshly painted, of not being dulled by the varnish of the years."