This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Critical Review Of "Leaves Of Grass" By Walt Whitman

1728 words - 7 pages

A Critical Review of "Leaves of Grass"
By Walt Whitman
Masoud Shahnazari
Azad University of Kerman
Instructor: Dr. Khozaei
Walter Whitman, the poet known as the American bard was born in West Hills, Long Island
in New York on May 31, 1819. His mother, Louisa, immigrated from Holland and his father,
Walter, from England. Whitman's father worked mostly with his hands as a carpenter and a
house builder and Whitman himself would pursue on trades early in his life. Shortly after
Whitman was born, his family moved to Brooklyn, where Whitman would receive his
schooling. As a young man, he held various jobs: he set type in a printing office, and he
worked as a schoolteacher.
By 1841, Whitman was beginning to focus his career on writing, first in the form of
journalism. He became something of an accomplished journalist in his own right, reporting
for and editing several newspapers and periodicals. Bettina Knapp notes that Whitman
completed a "temperance novel, Franklin Evans; or The Inebriate, in 1842 to secure funds
for Leaves of Grass. He later disavowed this novel due to its poor quality." It was then, after
a brief occupation as a carpenter that Whitman finally determined to dedicate his time to
writing poetry, though he had begun to formulate ideas about what a new American literature
would look like much earlier. His vision stems, in part, from his experiences during a trip
across America that he undertook in 1848. As he traveled from New York to Louisiana,
Whitman was deeply affected by the people and places he saw. These images became a
collage of America and a source for his writing.
Whitman's Leaves of Grass had a lifespan of several editions and 37 years, for Whitman was
constantly in the act of revising and augmenting his collection of poems, finally conceiving
of it as a "single poem." Leaves of Grass first appeared in 1855, a thin volume of a dozen
poems. By the final impression in 1891-1892 (sanctioned the "deathbed" edition), the
volume had expanded into the text we study today.
Throughout his lifetime, Whitman published reviews of Leaves of Grass that he wrote
himself. He included these as appendices to the book itself. "And since he had the prescience
to grasp the first axiom of modern celebrity culture, that there is no such thing as bad
publicity, he threw into the mix, as Loving puts it, ''just enough negative criticism to make it
sound less like a puff,'' including one shocked review that alluded, discreetly in Latin, to his
Whitman printed the first edition of Leaves of Grass without the author's name on the title
page. He used an engraving of himself in laborer's clothes as the frontispiece. Known as "the

carpenter," the image is an icon of the American poet as "one of the roughs," or Everyman.
Subsequent editions of Leaves depicted different Whitmans, ever more sophisticated and
venerable. The elderly Whitman in 1891 reverted to an image of a young and urbane self,
taken in Boston when he was...

Find Another Essay On A Critical Review of "Leaves of Grass" By Walt Whitman

"Leaves of grass" and a biography of Walt Whitman

684 words - 3 pages Walt Whitman was a poet born right here in this very town, Huntington, New York. His house is now a museum that sits across the street from the Walt Whitman Mall. To honor Walt Whitman's greatness several of his poems from The Leaves of Grass have been engraved upon the walls of the mall. The life that Whitman led was a hard one, and his controversial poetry and ideas didn't help much either. Many people objected to his ideas and the themes of

Egalitarianism in The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

1234 words - 5 pages Within Walt Whitman’s works he expresses his egalitarianism or belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, social, or economic life in his epic book called the leaves of grass. His strong point of view in the poem I Sing the Body Electric is expressed through sexuality, body attributes, political views. In the poem of I sing the body electric Walt Whitman expresses many qualities upon the body. It is as if he almost prizes

Walt Whitman’s Sensual Language in Leaves of Grass

685 words - 3 pages Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass covers many facets of human love, including love of the physical body. Whitman’s book contains many poems that try to embrace the beauty of the human body instead of covering it up. Whitman describes the human form in close detail throughout Leaves of Grass, but one of his poems in particular is especially vivid in detail. In “Children of Adam”, the fourth book of Leaves of Grass, Whitman gives readers a

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

1627 words - 7 pages , the anti-democratic and possibly anarchist views of Whitman surface. The prevalent use of metaphors in the poem leaves room for the reader to interpret the narrator’s words while guiding the reader in the general direction of Whitman’s ideas on democracy. The narrator brings up an important thought about democracy when he says that grass is “itself a child, the produced babe of vegetation.” By comparing grass to a child, the narrator effectively

The Life of Walt Whitman

1512 words - 7 pages found out that Walt Whitman was indeed a born to be writer. Walt published the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855. 36 years after the first appearance of the poem was the ninth and final edition, which was published in 1891 (Holt Rine Hart and Winston 362). R.W Emerson, a writer himself, thought Leaves of Grass was wonderful and it influenced himself. He realized that Walt is a great American poet (Walt, Whitman). Not just Emerson but also

The Life of Walt Whitman

1350 words - 6 pages are life, real life ( Needless to say the book was not a great success for Whitman. While Emerson believed Whitman wrote for the complete person, 'one who is willing to listen to one's self," ( another man, Whittier, called Whitman's work, " loose, lurid, and impious." ( The first edition of Leaves of Grass was classified by French critic, Therese Bentzon, as " poetry of barbarism," because it was

The Powerful Use of Imagery and Metaphor in a Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman

647 words - 3 pages catch somewhere, O my soul” (Whitman 720). The imagery here leaves the reader with the tactile sense of those delicate bonds as flimsy, airy and easily broken, until one bond is created, building a fragile bridge, connecting to another until all bonds join together to become one, thin mesh-like anchor much like the web of the spider. Whitman’s use of powerful imagery in “A Noiseless Patient Spider” easily conveys the speaker’s feelings of

The Significance of Walt Whitman

810 words - 3 pages , Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same." - An excerpt of Songs of Myself by Walt Whitman- Stanza 6In this excerpt, Whitman can see the grass as a symbol of the continuity of the cycle of life, death and rebirth; the representation of an individual. The grass in a sense signifies regeneration in nature, as well. However, grass also signifies a common material that links everyone together, which is the perfect symbol of democracy

Identities and Transcendentalism in Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

1055 words - 4 pages Identities and Transcendentalism in Song of Myself While reading through the poem Song of Myself by Walt Whitman, what comes to your mind? His deep love for nature? The use of symbolism throughout the poem? Whitman’s questionable homoeroticism that seeps its way throughout the lines? What came to the forefront of mind when reading this poem by Whitman was his deliberately obvious theme of individuality while also maintaining a universal

Song of Myself by Walt Whitman Part 5 Explication

535 words - 2 pages Part five of Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" explicates the intrinsic relationship one shares with his soul. The poet delivers a monologue to his own soul, in which he conveys his union with it. He recollects a metaphorical morning spent with his soul.The poet opens - in lines one and two - with an acknowledgment of the paramount importance of his soul. He proclaims, "I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you" In

In the Eyes of Walt Whitman

1010 words - 4 pages escape from the problems of the world but engages and, as far as possible, resolves them. Through his poetry, Walt Whitman has managed to intrigue us as a nation and leaves a record for generations of the emotions of a changing time in history.Bibliography:Reader's Guide by G.W. Allen (1970); Critical Essays on Walt Whitman,ed. byJ. Woodress (1983); Language and Style by C.C.Hollis (1983); WaltWhitman byJames E. Miller Jr., Helen Regenstein (1990

Similar Essays

Review Of Leaves Of Grass Walt Whitman

1558 words - 6 pages Leaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanBy ghadatu | Studymode.comLeaves of Grass by Walt Whitman In the twentieth century, the name Walt Whitman has been synonymous with poetry. Whitman's most celebrated work, Leaves of Grass, was the only book he ever wrote, and he took a lifetime to write it. A large assortment of poems, it is one of the most widely criticized works in literature, and one of the most loved works as well. Whitman was unmarried and

Leaves Of Grass By Walt Whitman

1493 words - 6 pages Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman In the twentieth century, the name Walt Whitman has been synonymous with poetry. Whitman's most celebrated work, Leaves of Grass, was the only book he ever wrote, and he took a lifetime to write it. A large assortment of poems, it is one of the most widely criticized works in literature, and one of the most loved works as well. Whitman was unmarried and childless, and it has been noted that Leaves of Grass

Leaves Of Grass By Walt Whitman

2900 words - 12 pages production (Pascal, 47). When Walt Whitman began publishing Leaves of Grass, America teetered at the edge of a great chasm created by social and economic crisis; slavery and capitalism its progenitor. Undoubtedly this time called for great poets and visionaries to usher in the change necessary to endure those bleak, catastrophic times. In retrospect readers and critics, especially confederate apologists, can look at Whitman and undermine his

Walt Whitman: Homoeroticism In Leaves Of Grass

1810 words - 7 pages destabilizes the genders of both the lyrical subject and the lyrical object, and Maslan righty asserts that “Whitman fosters fluidity of gender and sexuality” (130). Not only that, but he ends Song of Myself with “Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, / Missing me one place search another, / I stop somewhere waiting for you” (Whitman 105). Leaves of Grass contains some other homoerotic poems as well, such as As If a Phantom Caress’d Me. In