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Leaves of Grass - Rare 1867 Edition. Antique Books bound in Leather and Cloth with Civil War Poems Included


WALT WHITMAN - Leaves of Grass

Edition of 1867

Printed by Wm. E. Chapin & Co.

4th Edition, and the First Edition with all four known parts bound in:

Leaves of Grass


Sequel to Drum-Taps

Songs Before Parting

Presumably 1st issue of the 4th Edition, which includes all supplements. Drum-Taps and Songs Before Parting are noted in the primary Table of Contents and appear after Leaves of Grass in the text with their own title pages, contents pages and pagination. Sequel to Drum-Taps is not noted in the primary Table of Contents but appears between Drum-Taps and Songs Before Parting, also with its own title page, Table of Contents, and pagination. The book is bound in leather and cloth covered boards (likely a 19th or early 20th century library rebind.) Gilt spine lettering present and complete. Original publisher's price of $3.00 twice written in pencil on preliminary page corners.

This was the first edition of Leaves of Grass to appear after the American Civil War. It includes Whitman's war and Lincoln inspired verse for the first time. Some of Whitman's most famous poems (including "O Captain, My Captain", among others) made their first appearances in the supplemental works included in this edition. In later editions, these poems would be woven into the main body of Leaves of Grass.

Not all issues of the 4th edition include Drum-Taps, Sequel to Drum Taps and Songs Before Parting. Later issues of the fourth edition lack some or all of the supplements.

A valuable essay by Ed Folsom titled, "Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman," explains:

"The first postbellum edition of Leaves of Grass is probably the least studied of the various Whitman editions and the most difficult to find. In terms of what the edition has to teach us, it is an important one indeed, as Whitman here has begun to reformulate Leaves of Grass for a newly reconstructed United States of America, a nation now tempered and sobered by a bloody internal war that would forever haunt its history and undermine the optimistic predictions of America's future. In the first copies of the 1867 edition, Whitman performed his own textual version of healing surgery, suturing the leftover and still-unbound pages of Drum-Taps and Sequel to Drum-Taps into the back of his new volume, thus binding the poetry of the war into Leaves of Grass. This was the first step in Whitman's ongoing experiment with how to bleed the Civil War into Leaves...

So the first copies of this edition include Drum-Taps, Sequel to Drum-Taps (though not listed in the primary table of contents), and a new separately printed cluster of poems called Songs Before Parting bound into the back of Leaves of Grass as separate entities with their own title pages and pagination. When he ran out of the already printed and unbound copies of Drum-Taps and Sequel, he issued a version with only Leaves and Songs Before Parting. Then he issued a version with only Leaves of Grass. There have been reports of other variations as well—a copy with Drum-Taps and Songs Before Parting but without Sequel."

This copy contains the signature of E. R. Meade on its inner front pastedown, quite likely the same Edwin Ruthven Meade (1836-1877), a lawyer from Chenango County, New York, who was elected to the forty-forth congress as a New York State representative.

The book is in very good condition with light to moderate exterior wear and mild page discoloration. Its binding remains sturdy with splitting to yellow endpapers at the inner front and rear hinges. The endpapers show soil. A mild bump to the corner of the text block has turned down some margin corners of Songs Before Parting (see image.) The spine lettering on this copy remains beautifully fresh and intact, allowing this volume to sing from the shelves as a truly special edition of Whitman's work should.

Please note that this item will be shipped USPS Priority Mail, fully insured.