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carbro

Leaves of Grass at 150

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This year has been the 150th anniversary of the first publication of Walt Whitman's The Leaves of Grass.

WNYC Radio (click -->here) recently aired an hour-long tribute including portraits of Whitman and readings of excerpts from Leaves. At the foot of the page you'll find several links, including one to a virtual tour of the Library of Congress' just-closed :wink: exhibiiton. The web tour features manuscripts and photos. There is also an audio link with about 37 seconds of an Edison wax cylinder with what is purported to be Whitman's voice. I'm fascinated that a man born on Long Island early in the 19th century sounds very much like today's New Englanders.

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Thank you for the heads up, carbro. :lightbulb:

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I'm fascinated that a man born on Long Island early in the 19th century sounds very much like today's New Englanders.

The North Shore and East End of Long Island were settled by New Englanders in the 1600s and 1700s, and was more directly in contact with New England than with New York City in those earlyi days. These settlers brought along their customs, architecture, town meetings, and church governance, and -- it seems -- their way of speaking.

Rereading "Song of Myself" recently, I was struck by how very generous, ecumenical, and "modern" in tone and values Whitman was -- and remains for us today.

--

"I believe that a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars."

--

"Do I contradict myself?

Very well then I contradict myself,

(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

--

And the ability to laugh at himself:

"The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering."

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What a timely topic -- I'm reading Daniel Mark Epstein's book Lincoln and Whitman: Parallel Lives in Civil War Washington!

The book is in interesting in many ways, not least because it depicts just how grisly the Civil War really was. (Walt Whitman spent the better part of the war tending to wounded soldiers in DC.)

I'm only about halfway through the book at this point but I'm looking forward to the chapter where Epstein discusses how Whitman came to write perhaps his best poem -- "When Lilacs Last In the Dooryard Bloom'd" -- in response to Lincoln's death.

(And, yes, I do have other interests besides Dancing With the Stars!) :blush:

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(And, yes, I do have other interests besides Dancing With the Stars!)

And "The Best of Everything." :thanks: Thank you for the report, miliosr, it sounds like a very interesting book. It's nice to know that Whitman spent his war looking after the wounded instead of creating more wounded.

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I think Walt Whitman would agree -- "Romance is truly the best of everything!" :(

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