INTRODUCTION

By Carl Sandburg

In certain particulars Walt Whitman book, "Leaves of Grass," stands by itself and is the most peculiar and noteworthy monument amid the work of American literature.

First, as to style. In a large and growing circle of readers and critics, it is regarded as the most original book, the most decisively individual, the most sublimely personal creation in American literary art.

Second, as to handling by critics and commentators. It is the most highly praised and the most deeply damned book that ever came from an American printing press as the work of an American writer; no other book can compete with it in the number of bouquets handed it by distinguished bystanders on one side of the street and in the number of hostile and nasty brickbats flung by equally distinguished bystanders on the other side of the street.

Third, as to personality. It is the most intensely personal book in American literature, living grandly to its promissory line, "who touches this touches a man," spilling its multitude of confessions with the bravery of a firstrate autobiography.

-III-

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