'I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, / I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.'
To mark 160 years since its first publication, a new edition of the great American poet's most famous work
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Abundant, ecstatic, generous, courageous - this is the first American epic poem, a celebration of selfhood and a catalogue of nineteenth-century American life of all ages and races. Revolutionary in style and controversial in content when it was first published in 1855, Whitman's masterwork has since inspired generations with its intoxicating rhythms and images, and its inclusive, praiseful joy.
THE ORIGINAL 1855 TEXT
“Grand but intimate, earthy but also dreamy”
“Whitman had a fluid personality that made him able to ''merge'' invisibly, and with great empathy, with the images of other people and events that lodged in his mind...unprecedented assembling of rhythm, sound, language and images”
New York Times
“The great unrhymed, long-lined, self-celebratory sensation of the 1850s”
Lost Angeles Times