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
The great unrhymed, long-lined, self-celebratory sensation of the 1850s
Walt Whitman was considered a mathematical hog, Eliot incomprehensible and Langston Hughes was told his poems were 'trash': there's plenty to be learned from the savage criticism delivered to the poetic greats.