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Not many people know that Walt Whitman--arguably the preeminent American poet of the nineteenth century--began his literary career as a novelist. Franklin Evans, or The Inebriate: A Tale of the Times was his first and only novel. Published in 1842, during a period of widespread temperance activity, it became Whitman's most popular work during his lifetime, selling some twenty thousand copies. The novel tells the rags-to-riches story of Franklin Evans, an innocent young man from the Long Island countryside who seeks his fortune in New York City. Corrupted by music halls, theaters, and above all taverns, he gradually becomes a drunkard. Until the very end of the tale, Evans's efforts to abstain fail, and each time he resumes drinking, another series of misadventures ensues. Along the way, Evans encounters a world of mores and conventions rapidly changing in response to the vicissitudes of slavery, investment capital, urban mass culture, and fervent reform. Although Evans finally signs a temperance pledge, his sobriety remains haunted by the often contradictory and unsettling changes in antebellum American culture. The editors' substantial introduction situates Franklin Evans in relation to Whitman's life and career, mid-nineteenth-century American print culture, and many of the developments and institutions the novel depicts, including urbanization, immigration, slavery, the temperance movement, and new understandings of class, race, gender, and sexuality. This edition includes a short temperance story Whitman published at about the same time as he did Franklin Evans, the surviving fragment of what appears to be another unfinished temperance novel by Whitman, and a temperance speech Abraham Lincoln gave the same year that Franklin Evans was published.
Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful. " Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced. " Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce var...
Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as "disgraceful. " Ralph Waldo Emerson found it "the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced. " Published at the author's expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce various short, early versions, this Modern Library Paperback Classics "Death-bed" edition presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form, and includes newly commissioned notes. From the Trade Paperback edition.
A selection of the writings of Whitman from the volumes "Inscriptions", "Children of Adam", "Calamus", "Birds of Passage", "Sea-Drift", "By the Roadside", "Drum-Taps", "Memories of President Lincoln", "Autumn Rivulets", "Whispers of Heavenly Death", "From Noon to Starry Night", "Songs of Parting", and others. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc. , Portland, Or.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume, For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. When Walt Whitman self-published his Leaves of Grass in July 1855, he altered the course of literary history. One of the greatest masterpieces of American literature, it redefined the rules of poetry while describing the soul of the American character. Throughout his great career, Whitman continuously revised, expanded, and republished Leaves of Grass, but as Harold Bloom reminds us, the book that matters most is the 1855 original. In celebration of the poem's 150th anniversary, Penguin Classics proudly presents the 1855 text in its original and complete form, with a specially commissioned introductory essay by Harold Bloom.
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