THE EVOLUTION OF WALT WHITMAN by Roger Asselineau

THE EVOLUTION OF WALT WHITMAN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A scholarly evaluation deals with the period of Walt Whitman's life after the first publication of Leaves of Grass in 1855. The writer's general thesis is that the ten editions which followed are an incorporation of Whitman's thought as his life changed and unfolded. This is a plausible explanation of a book many times expanded and rearranged, and he supports it with careful erudition. In Whitman's words-""It was originally my intention, after chanting in Leaves of Grass the songs of Body and Existence, to then compose a volume based on those convictions of perpetuity and conservation... which make the unseen soul govern absolutely at last."" Death, immortality and a free entrance into the spiritual world via the highboard of Freedom and Democracy were Whitman's main tenets which he finally incorporated into one volume. Unfortunately what Whitman did not foresee was the brutal attack on freedom and the perversion of the democratic ideal by the all too evident flood of barbarian destruction. Brotherhood he wanted, but essentially in 19th century humanitarian and not 20th century totalitarian terms. A thoughtful book, which will hardly reach more than a limited group of scholars.

Pub Date: Dec. 16th, 1960
ISBN: 0877456828
Publisher: Harvard University Press