A Critical Review of "Leaves of Grass" By Walt Whitman

Essay by shahnazariUniversity, Master'sB, November 2014

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A Critical Review of "Leaves of Grass"

By Walt Whitman

Masoud Shahnazari

Azad University of Kerman

Instructor: Dr. Khozaei


Walter Whitman, the poet known as the American bard was born in West Hills, Long Island

in New York on May 31, 1819. His mother, Louisa, immigrated from Holland and his father,

Walter, from England. Whitman's father worked mostly with his hands as a carpenter and a

house builder and Whitman himself would pursue on trades early in his life. Shortly after

Whitman was born, his family moved to Brooklyn, where Whitman would receive his

schooling. As a young man, he held various jobs: he set type in a printing office, and he

worked as a schoolteacher.

By 1841, Whitman was beginning to focus his career on writing, first in the form of

journalism. He became something of an accomplished journalist in his own right, reporting

for and editing several newspapers and periodicals. Bettina Knapp notes that Whitman

completed a "temperance novel, Franklin Evans; or The Inebriate, in 1842 to secure funds

for Leaves of Grass. He later disavowed this novel due to its poor quality." It was then, after

a brief occupation as a carpenter that Whitman finally determined to dedicate his time to

writing poetry, though he had begun to formulate ideas about what a new American literature

would look like much earlier. His vision stems, in part, from his experiences during a trip

across America that he undertook in 1848. As he traveled from New York to Louisiana,

Whitman was deeply affected by the people and places he saw. These images became a

collage of America and a source for his writing.

Whitman's Leaves of Grass had a lifespan of several editions and 37 years, for Whitman was

constantly in the act...