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WHITMAN, Walt (1819-1892). Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn: [Printed for the Author], 1855.
WHITMAN, Walt (1819-1892). Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn: [Printed for the Author], 1855.

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WHITMAN, Walt (1819-1892). Leaves of Grass. Brooklyn: [Printed for the Author], 1855.

2o (287 x 205 mm). Engraved frontispiece portrait with tissue guard. Original green cloth, gilt-lettered and decorated in blind on front and back covers within a triple gilt rule, gilt-lettered and decorated spine, marbled endpapers, edges gilt (front inner hinge tender).

"THE POET AND THE PROPHET OF DEMOCRACY ... the whole of Leaves of Grass is imbued with the spirit of brotherhood and a pride in the democracy of the young American nation. In a sense, it is America's second Declaration of Independence: that of 1776 was political, that of 1855 intellectual" (Printing and the Mind of Man)

FIRST EDITION, ENGLISH ISSUE, FIRST ISSUE BINDING (BAL's and Myerson's Binding A). The English issue of Leaves of Grass used the American sheets with a pasted label of William Horsell on the title. The English issue was bound in the first issue binding (with the gilt frame border), but without the flyleaves. First State of the frontispiece portrait (on heavy paper), second state of the copyright page as usual, second state of p. iv.

WITH FIVE SCARCE BROADSIDE ADVERTISEMENTS TIPPED TO THE FRONT ENDPAPERS. Meyerson notes that a four-leaf gathering was inserted in some copies of the American issue in the second and third bindings. Present in the Clark copy are: "Copy for the convenience of private reading only," Emerson's letter, 21 July 1855. -- Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Putnam's Monthly, for September (Meyerson I12). -- Walt Whitman, A Brooklyn Boy, The Brooklyn Daily Times (Meyerson F88). -- Walt Whitman and His Poems,
United States Review (Meyerson F91). -- An English and American Poet, The American Phrenological Journal (Meyerson F26). It is presumed from the early states of these ephemeral publications that Whitman had them inserted in copies for distribution. Whitman had the famous quote from Emerson's review, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career,"gilt-lettered on the spine of the second edition.

"Whitman was spending nearly every day there [at the printing office of James and Thomas Rome in Brooklyn] that spring [of 1855], writing, revising, reading proof, even working at the type case, just as he had done twenty years earlier as an apprentice printer. Altogether he set in type about ten of the ninety-five pages of a book that he also designed, produced, published, promoted... The 795 copies the Romes ran off on their hand press and delivered to the binder were all there were or could be of the first edition. No plates were made; the book was printed from type, and the type distributed" (Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman: a Life, Toronto: Bantam Books, 1982, p. 198). Myerson notes that 795 copies were bound: 337 in Binding A in June and July 1855; 262 in Binding B in December 1855 and January 1856; and 196 copies in two other binding styles. BAL 21395; Grolier American 67; Myerson A2.I.a1; Printing and the Mind of Man 340. A FINE, BRIGHT COPY.

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