In 1855, a small volume appeared, self-published by a failed Brooklyn journalist and carpenter: twelve untitled poems and a preface announcing the author's aims. A commercial failure, this book was the first stage of a massive, lifelong enterprise. Six editions and thirty-seven years later, Leaves of Grass had been recognized as one of the central masterworks of world poetry. This Library of America Paperback Classic includes two complete texts: the 1855 first edition and the magnificent culminating edition of 1891-1892.
For almost thirty years, The Library of America has presented America's best and most significant writing in acclaimed hardcover editions. Now, a new series, Library of America Paperback Classics, offers attractive and affordable books that bring The Library of America's authoritative texts within easy reach of every reader. Each book features an introductory essay by one of a leading writer, as well as a detailed chronology of the author's life and career, an essay on the choice and history of the text, and notes.
The contents of this Paperback Classic are drawn from Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose, edited by Justin Kaplan, volume #3 in the Library of America series.