I celebrate myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease . . . observing a spear of summer grass.
Dover publications rewards the reader with the works of one of America’s greatest poets. Before the poetry, this edition provides a detailed introduction to Whitman’s writing and thinking. Walt Whitman’s view is all-encompassing from the joining of body and soul to religion. His poetry drifts into philosophy. His views of American society are compared and contrasted with Thoreau, and his Whitman’s vision of America is compared with Tocqueville’s writing of American democracy. Whitman writes of the America that is, which is not always the America America thinks it is.
He writes with a rhythm that captures the reader and makes him or her part of the poem. The reader is caught in the drift of words and phrases and pulled into another world. He or she is standing next to Whitman and observing what he sees. It is about as close to magical as one can get reading literature. The Leaves of Grass is everything Whitman saw and believed recorded as a poem to be passed on. He knew that he would die, and he calls on the reader to discuss and criticize the poem and to become a co-creator to add to what he was written, much like he has edited and revised the poem throughout his life. The goal is to keep the poem alive as one would believe a soul lives on after death.
Like all Dover Publications, this is a quality product at a value price. Another very well done book by Dover.