CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).  Leaves of Grass.  1900.
LEAVES OF GRASS
By
WALT WHITMAN


PREFACE


THIS edition of LEAVES OF GRASS, presenting, as it does, many new features, requires a word of explanation. The early editions are now almost entirely out of the market, a fact of no great importance to the reader, were it not that they are sought for more because of their contents than their imprint.   1
  Perhaps no author was given more to change than Walt Whitman. Many poems or parts of poems have been either altered, or discarded for a time to appear in a new form in later editions, and not a few have disappeared entirely. His poems appeal to the student rather than to the casual reader, and this edition has been prepared with the clearest recognition of that fact. It aims to give the growing as well as the grown Whitman. The accepted readings are given in the text. Each poem has been carefully compared with that appearing in all previous editions, and the changes have been inserted in footnotes. The lines have been numbered, by which means the reader can readily compare the various readings and mark their transformations. Under the head of “Gathered Leaves” I have collected such poems as have been dropped by the way, some of which appeared in only one, and others in several editions.   2
  As Walt Whitman’s publisher, I was frequently called upon to give information concerning poems whose headings had been changed. These have been noted, and in the alphabetical list at the end of the volume all such titles appear, with reference to the present title.   3
  This work is but a recognition of the necessities which were developed by years of association with LEAVES OF GRASS. That it will be appreciated by all lovers of Whitman I do not question. For any errors of commission I accept all responsibility; for those of omission (and there are a few), conditions which I could not control are alone responsible, a fact which time will yet correct. Walt Whitman was an unique character. As his most successful publisher I saw much of him, and learned to love his sweet and kindly nature. No one could enter the charmed circle of his friendship without feeling the mastery of his personality. This book, the work of my own hands, I give as a token of those never-to-be-forgotten days. To have met Whitman was a privilege, to have been his friend was an honor. The latter was mine; and among the many reminiscences of my life, none are to me more pleasing than those which gather about the name of “The Good Grey Poet.”

David McKay.    
   4


CONTENTS      BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD


 
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