Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays

Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays

Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays

Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays

Synopsis

This comprehensive volume celebrates the 150th anniversary of the 1855 edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass with twenty essays by preeminent scholars representing a variety of critical perspectives that focus exclusively on the original edition. Once regarded as primarily a collector's item, this edition is now viewed as the poet's most bold and compelling articulation of the possibilities of American democracy. The essays weave a rich tapestry of the most current, innovative criticism on this foundational book of American poetry. The contributors treat Whitman's poetry, his biography, his politics, his reception in the United States and abroad, race and ethnic issues, nineteenth-century America, and even the complex typographical history of the first edition of Leaves of Grass. The volume also includes a tribute from the renowned poet Galway Kinnell.

Excerpt

Susan belasco, ed folsom, & kenneth M. price

In the spring of 2005 over 150 scholars, musicians, poets, and enthusiasts gathered at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the first publication of Leaves of Grass (1855). the Nebraska sesquicentennial celebration followed in the footsteps of numerous centennial events — the most notable of which was "Walt Whitman: the Centennial Conference" at the University of Iowa — that occurred just thirteen years earlier, in 1992. Centennial events honored Whitman's death; sesquicentennial events celebrated the birth of Leaves of Grass and, with it, a distinctively new kind of American poetry. Some of the distinguished participants in the Nebraska celebration were also present at the Iowa centennial conference. One of them, James E. Miller Jr., was recognized for career achievements as a Centennial Scholar in 1992 and was honored again in Nebraska as the Sesquicentennial Whitman Scholar in recognition of his groundbreaking work in Whitman studies over the past fifty years. For Miller it was a homecoming: he began his career at the University of Nebraska and published (with Karl Shapiro and Bernice Slote) the first of his several landmark books on Whitman (the 1960 Start with the Sun: Essays in the Whitman Tradition) with the University of Nebraska Press. Since the 1992 centennial conference . . .

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