Since 1855, Walt Whitman's Song of Myself has been enjoyed, debated, parodied and imitated by readers, critics and artists crossing national and linguistic boundaries. Many argue that it is the most influential poem ever written by an American. This sourcebook and critical edition provides easy access to:
* information on the contexts of Whitman's work, including biographical details and a chronology
* an overview of the critical reception of the poem and extracts from important criticism, reprinted with clear introductory headnotes
* key passages from the original 1855 edition, with commentary and annotation
* the full 'final' 1881 edition of the poem.
Cross-references link the critical, contextual and textual sections of the volume, encouraging an integrated understanding of this creative and controversial text. Complementing a wealth of material with suggestions for further reading, this volume is ideal for readers with no knowledge of the poem, or for those returning anew to a favourite text.