Song of Ourselves: Walt Whitman and the Fight for Democracy

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For fans of Walt Whitman’s poetry or any reader interested in how this father of American poetry continues to shape our understanding of democracy, Mark Edmundson’s latest book, Song of Ourselves: Walt Whitman and the Fight for American Democracy, is bound to be of interest.

Each chapter reads as a blueprint for an engaging and thoughtful lecture. Edmundson, a professor of English at the University of Virginia and a Guggenheim fellow, knows how to tell a story. He weaves in Whitman’s own life with a close reading of Whitman’s first and most famous work, the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. The book breaks down several themes in the long poem—self and soul, God, death, and democracy—by taking apart key lines and digging into their initial meanings and broader implications.

You don’t have to know much of Whitman’s work to enjoy this book. In fact, if you’re a relative newcomer, you are in luck as this edition reprints, in its entirety, the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. With that inclusion, Edmundson’s book becomes a beautiful and thorough introduction to and examination of America’s most important poet, Walt Whitman.


Reviewed By:

Author Mark Edmundson
Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Harvard University Press
Publish Date 13-Apr-2021
ISBN 9780674237162
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2021
Category Books About Books
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