During the spring of 1855, Whitman began writing, revising, and proof reading his work. In May, he registered the title Leaves of Grass and settled copyright notices. He wrote, designed, produced, published, and promoted Leaves of Grass which served as the center of the poet’s life for nearly forty years (Lewis). Whitman worked tirelessly and sent a copy of Leaves of Grass to Ralph Waldo Emerson, who replied in a five-page tribute to the work, stating that Whitman was at the beginning of a great literary career. However, Whitman received a significant amount of criticism, especially in response to the underlying sexual themes presented in his work.
As a result of Emerson’s positive feedback, a Boston publisher offered to print Whitman’s second edition of Leaves of Grass. Although Emerson suggested editing sexually suggestive themes out of the second edition to make it more appealing to the public, Whitman ignored his advice and stated his work would have to stand in its original form. After adding 124 new poems to the updated version, the second edition was published.
In February, 1861, Whitman saw Abraham Lincoln, who inspired him to take an interest in the Civil War (Lewis). He enlisted in the military a...
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...uths; as he emphasizes his personal connection with all other aspects of culture and society. He continues to express the interconnectedness of humanity by explaining that everyone was born from the earth and procreated. For example, all individuals come from two parents, have the opportunity to grow and succeed, and then experience death. Every person has a similar experience to his own, and therefore shares the same human experience.
Comparatively to Whitman’s poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry,” the narrator in “Song of Myself” is admiring the unique characteristics associated with individuality, while attempting to identify common traits among all of humanity. Even though he is reflecting on his personal perspective and experiences in life, all individuals can relate to his writing, as it defines the egocentric but united culture present in American society (Lewis).
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