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Leaves of Grass

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Briana Gorgy

on 19 October 2012

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Transcript of Leaves of Grass

"Leaves of Grass" Walt Whitman About this piece The subject of Leaves of Grass is Whitman and the nation (USA)
This is a preface to Whitman's historic 1855 edition of "Leaves of Grass".
He states that America has never been static, that is it an ever-growing nation of people, ideas, and beliefs that evolve as the nation itself changes.
He also states that the old ways are passing and the new stronger ways are approaching.
He considers the United States as a great poem, a nation characterized by activity, diversity, and the gifts of its rich natural bounties. This piece has an overall rating of "challenging" and its concept level is challenging as well. Its language includes difficult vocabulary, and paragraph-long sentences.
-Slough: a state of moral degradation or spiritual dejection
-Stalwart: marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind, or spirit
-Hitherto: up to this or that time
-Beget: to produce especially as an effect or outgrowth
-Ampler: generously sufficient to satisfy a requirement or need History: The 1850's Mar 31, 1850- US population hits 23,191,876 (Black population: 3,638,808 (15.7%)
Dec 29, 1851 - The first American YMCA opens in Boston, Massachusetts.
May 18, 1852 - Massachusetts rules all school-age children must attend school(5-13)
Sep 6,1853 - Women's Right's Convention met (NYC)

May 30, 1854- Territories of Kansas & Nebraska created
May 15, 1855- Walt Whitman registers the title Leaves of Grass with the clerk of the United States District Court, Southern District of New Jersey, and receives its copyright(His father later died on July 11)
Feb 22, 1856 - 1st national meeting of Republican Party (Pittsburgh)
May 1, 1857 - William Walker, conqueror of Nicaragua, surrenders to US Navy
Jul 29, 1858 - United States and Japan sign the Harris Treaty
Feb 14, 1859 - Oregon admitted as 33rd state Works Cited --"Guide to Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass." Poets.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012.

--"Historical Events for Year 1855." "Historical Events Happened In 1855." Hisdates. N.p., N.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. . History Orb, n.d. Web.

--"Historical Events Happened In 1855." Hisdates. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.hisdates.com/years/1855-historical-events.html>.

--"Leaves of Grass Background." Study Guides & Essay Editing. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.gradesaver.com/leaves-of-grass/study-guide/about/>.

--"Leaves of Grass Summary." Study Guides & Essay Editing. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.gradesaver.com/leaves-of-grass/study-guide/short-summary/>.

--The New Walt Whitman Fellowship." LeavesOfGrass.Org About. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://leavesofgrass.org/about.html>.

--"The Walt Whitman Archive." Published Works -. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2012. <http://www.whitmanarchive.org/published/index.html Whitman, being the first
major American poet, was
rewarded by critics saying
that "Leaves of Grass" is the
first and best example
of American poetry. Because all the publications of
Leaves of Grass are difficult to
understand or not straightforward,
some see the piece as extraordinary
while some see it as obscene. He also got bad reviews, which
stated that "Leaves of Grass"
was obscene and tasteless.
Whitman was also criticized for
describing a multitude of sexual
proclivities - many of which were
condemned or looked down
upon by society
at the time. What were his intentions while writing Leaves of Grass? The Political View Differences between the editions... What is Whitman's way of writing? To whom did Whitman really write "Leaves of Grass"? Things that Whitman wrote about
that were true events in his life... Whitman usually wrote poems of a
political, social, personal, and sexual nature.
In his poems, he emphasized the soul and mind, because he was more into writing about spiritual means rather than physical means. Whitman's book cannot be understood outside of the political and social conflict that shaped the nation from the time of Whitman's birth until 1865 (his journey). Although slavery had been a major issue since the country's founding, the early nineteenth century saw a drastic dispute of opinions. Whitman's poems were purposefully political and Whitman described himself as a "poet of America".
To him, democracy could be veiwed spiritually and poetically. First, "Leaves of Grass" was Whitman's journey through eighteenth century America.
He writes of the spiritual side of his path and his experiences of war, peace, love, and death.
On another level, it is a song for America, because of his joyful mood.
Whitman first began writing "Leaves of Grass" just seventy-five years after the American Revolution and only several decades after the formative political administrations that first shaped the country.
His "songs" are songs of democracy and freedom, of an unwavering belief in patriotism, and of the promise of American freedom. Whitman looks at all of his "Leaves of Grass" literary texts as a journey throughout his life.
His poems are for the people that were with him during his journey throughout life
Every "Leaves of Grass edition" was dedicated to a good friend of his. Whitman was involved in the United States Civil war which is a big thing in his life that he writes his poems about.
In Leaves of Grass he talked about how this is a new beginning for him and United States, so I can infer that war ended around that time.
In some of his publications of "Leaves of Grass", Whitman talked about his role model Abraham Lincoln, he also wrote about his sorrows when he witnessed his death.
He wrote some of the leaves of grass based on his explorations of the self (himself)
Whitman wrote all of the various "Leaves of Grass" not as books but as chronicles of life, which he wants his readers to benefit from. What Critics
Had to Say... The many editions of "Leaves of Grass" show a transformation in the author's thoughts during his lifetime.
The first editions were his promises to America. The middle editions added the terrors of war including his call of patriotic duty. Examples of difficult vocabulary: Whitman starts out his piece by talking about how
that certain time period that Leaves of Grass
was written was a joyful time for Americans.
We decided to look at the historical side of this time
period and see what kinds of different things happened
to make it a joyful time period...
Full transcript