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About this Item

Title: Our Book Table

Creator: unknown [unsigned in original]

Date: November 28, 1856

Publication information: New York Daily News 28 November 1856: [unknown].

Source: The electronic text for this file was prepared by Whitman Archive staff, who transcribed the text from a representation of the original (e.g., digital scan or other electronic reproduction, microfilm copy).

Whitman Archive ID: anc.02031

Contributors to digital file: Kyle Barton and Elizabeth Lorang


OUR BOOK TABLE

LEAVES OF GRASS. Brooklyn, New York, 1856. For sale by Fowler & Wells, No. 308 Broadway.

A new edition of Walt Whitman’s wonderful poems.

Leaves of Grass was first published something more than a year ago. It then appeared in a quarto form of 89 pages, and, as we understand, was set up and printed by the author himself. The present edition is a decided improvement on the first; it contains 384 pages, 18mo., and being neatly printed is much more desirable than the quarto.

We have heretofore reviewed Walter Whitman’s poems, and spoken of them at considerable length, and spoken very highly of them, too. It is, of course, unnecessary to repeat what we have previously said, or even to enter largely into a discussion of the eccentricities of the author, or the peculiarities and the beauties of his poems. It will be sufficient to say that they have been almost universally admired by men whose authority is unquestionable, and with scarcely an exception, have been highly praised by the press of both this country and of England.

Some of these ‘leaves-droppings’ will be found at the end of the book, together with the correspondence between Ralph Waldo Emerson and the author. The beautiful testimonial from Mr. Emerson has been the means of gaining for Walt Whitman an increased number of admirers.

In Walt Whitman’s letter to Mr. Emerson, he writes in precisely the same style as he does in his poems. From that letter we take the following extract. It presents an idea of his manner of writing, and truthfully describes a class of persons who are exactly opposite to Walt Whitman. Here it is, and with it we close our notice:

Up to the present, as helps best, the people, like a lot of large boys, have no determined tastes, are quite unaware of the grandeur of themselves, and of their destiny, and of their immense strides—accept with voracity whatever is presented them in novels, histories, newspapers, poems, schools, lectures, every thing. Pretty soon, through these and other means, their development makes the fiber that is capable of itself, and will assume determined tastes. The young men will be clear what they want, and will have it. They will follow none except him whose spirit leads them in the like spirit with themselves. Any such man will be welcome as the flowers of May. Others will be put out without ceremony. How much is there anyhow, to the young men of these States, in a parcel of helpless dandies, who can neither fight, work, shoot, ride, run, command—some of them devout, some quite insane, some castrated—all second-hand, or third, fourth, or fifth hand—waited upon by waiters, putting not this land first, but always other lands first, talking of art, doing the most ridiculous things for fear of being called ridiculous, smirking and skipping along, continually taking off their hats—no one behaving, dressing, writing, talking, loving, out of any natural and manly tastes of his own, but each one looking cautiously to see how the rest behave, dress, write, talk, love—pressing the noses of dead books upon themselves and upon their country—favoring no poets, philosophs, literats here, but dog-like danglers at the heels of the poets, philosophs, literats, of enemies' lands—favoring mental expressions, models of gentlemen and ladies, social habitudes in These States, to grow up in sneaking defiance of the popular substratums of The States? Of course they and the likes of them can never justify the strong poems of America. Of course no feed of theirs is to stop and be made welcome to muscle the bodies, male and female, for Manhattan Island, Brooklyn, Boston, Worcester, Hartford, Portland, Montreal, Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Iowa City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Raleigh, Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, New Orleans, Galveston, Brownsville, San Francisco, Havana, and a thousand equal cities, present and to come. Of course what they and the likes of them have been used for, draws toward its close, after which they will all be discharged, and not one of them will ever be heard of any more.


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