Wednesday 15 August 2007

Walt Whitman reviewed in the Atlantic, 1882

On their website the Atlantic is offering a review of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass that originally ran in the pages of their magazine in January 1882.

Here is how it begins:
"The appearance of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass in a new edition has revived a discussion always imminent when the name of this writer is brought forward, and always more or less acrimonious. Some persons even imagine it obligatory upon them to deny him all merit of poetic endowment, so violent is their revolt against the offensiveness which Mr. Whitman has chosen to make a central and integral point of his literary method."

And here is how it ends:

"Every one imbued with the "primal sanities" must be revolted by this offense, and protest against it. Fortunately, however, the chief damage done will be to the author himself, who thus dishonors his own physical nature; for imperfect though the race is, it still remains so much purer than the stained and distorted reflection of its animalism in Leaves of Grass, that the book cannot attain to any very wide influence."

I leave it to you, if you are imbued with the "primal sanities", to read the rest of the review here.

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