That was a beginning. It isnt over yet. The controversy yet rises and subsides. The best loved figure in American literature by those who loved him he is counted also the most heartily damned figure by those who damned him. The most highly praised and the most roundly excoriated book America has produced that is Walt Whitman s Leaves of Grass. He is the poet who brought the slop-pail into the parlor, wrote one critic. He is one of the sublime figures of all human annals, one to be set for companionship with Confucius, Socrates, and the teachers of high and sacred living, wrote another critic. The man was mad, mad beyond the cavil of a doubt, wrote Max Nordau. A nother European critic, Gabriel Sarrin, wrote: He is the apostle of the idea that man is an indivisible fragment of the universal Divinity. Walt Whitman is the only established epic poet of A merica. He is the single American figure that both American and European artists and critics most often put in a class or throw into a category with Shakespeare, Dante, Homer. He is the one American writer that Emerson, Burroughs, John Muir, Edward Carpenter, and similar observers enter in their lists as having a size in history and an importance of utterance that places him with Socrates, Confucius, Lao Tse, and the silver-grey men of the half-worlds who left the Bhagavad Gita and writings known most often as sacred. In stature, pride, stride, and scope of personality, he is a challenger. He warns us to come with good teeth if we are to join in his menu to bring along our rough weather clothes. He is likely any time to tip us out of the boat to see whether we swim or sink.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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Forgotten Books is a publisher of historical writings, such as: Philosophy, Classics, Science, Religion, History, Folklore and Mythology.
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