“Do anything, but let it produce joy": RARE SECOND EDITION OF WALT WHITMAN’S LEAVES OF GRASS; ONE OF ONE THOUSAND COPIES
Leaves of Grass.
Item Number: 50052
Brooklyn, New York: Fowler and Wells, 1856.
Rare second edition, one of a 1000 copies of the most important volume in American poetry, with an additional twenty poems not found in the first edition as well as a new section of correspondence and reviews entitled “Leaves-droppings” that begins with the famous letter from Emerson containing the salutation “I greet you at the beginning of a great career.” Small octavo, original green cloth. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Walt Whitman. Bookplate of Barrett Wendell to the inside panel. Barrett was an American academic and a trustee of the Boston Athenaeum, a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and he was also elected to the Harvard Board of Overseers. Bookplate of William Whitwell Greenough. Greenough was a Boston merchant and politician, trustee of the Boston Public Library, 1856-1888, President of the Board of Trustees, 1866-1888. In very good condition with some toning to the spine and overall light wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A nice example of this rarity with noted provenance.
“Always the champion of the common man, Whitman is both the poet and the prophet of democracy… In a sense, it is America’s second Declaration of Independence: that of 1776 was political, this of 1855 intellectual” (PMM 340). The most important and influential volume of poetry written in America, Whitman’s literary masterpiece, Leaves of Grass is “one of the most magnificent fabrications of modern times… he never surrendered… his vision of himself as one who might go forth among the American people and astonish them…” (DAB).