Contemporary Reviews

About this Item

Title: Leaves of Grass

Creator: unknown [unsigned in original]

Date: 1860

Whitman Archive ID: anc.02032

Source: Leaves of Grass Imprints: American and European Criticisms on "Leaves of Grass" 1860: 51. 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). For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the reviews, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kyle Barton, Janel Cayer, and Elizabeth Lorang

From the Monthly Trade Gazette. (New York, 1856.)1

LEAVES OF GRASS. By Walt Whitman. A poem that deserves and will eventually obtain a higher niche in Fame’s temple, than all the "—s" ever written. There is a sturdy strength—a far-reaching grasp of Titanic thought, boldly, manfully, and appositely expressed—and a filibuster-like daring running, like a strong, vigorous river, through its diction, which impress the reader with the conviction that he is in the presence of a more than ordinary man. The poem is written without regard to metrical rules, which the author evidently looks upon as puerile—in which we think he is nearer right than wrong—but it bears in every line the stamp of rude but sterling genius. The mean manner in which it is put forth by its publishers, however, will seriously interfere with its chances of publicity. Had it been issued in a dress worthy of the matter, it could hardly fail of mounting, at a single step, to the topmost floor of Novelty’s platform, and instantly commanding the public eye. As it is, its success will be a work of time. We give a cordial greeting to Leaves of Grass, which we look upon as the most considerable poem that has yet appeared in our country.


1. This review originally appeared in the Monthly Trade Gazette. Our transcription is based on the version that was published in Leaves of Grass Imprints. [back]


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