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Review of Leaves of Grass (1860–61)

LEAVES OF GRASS, by Walt Whitman. Eldridge & Thayer, Boston.

It seems as if the author of Leaves of Grass had converted his mind into a mental reservoir by tumbling into it pêle-mêle all the floating conceits his brain ever gave birth to. He manifests no other sign of mental capacity; for we find no trace of judgment, taste, or healthy sensibility in the work. It is a book of poetry such as may well please twenty-one year old statesmen and philosophers, and people who pride themselves more in being able to read and write than able to think. Such poetry(!) is characteristic of a country like ours, where there is abundance of everything to eat and drink, and to wear, and good pay for labor.

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