Leaves of Grass

Walt WHITMAN

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Item#: 126950 price:$9,500.00

Leaves of Grass
Leaves of Grass

1882 AUTHOR’S EDITION OF LEAVES OF GRASS, WITH THE “SEXUALITY ODES,” SIGNED BY WHITMAN: “A SCARCE AND ALMOST UNKNOWN ISSUE…WHITMAN HAD THESE MADE FOR A FEW FRIENDS”

WHITMAN, Walt. Leaves of Grass. Camden, New Jersey: (Walt Whitman), 1882. Octavo, original green cloth gilt recased, top edge gilt, uncut. $9500.

Author’s Edition, signed by Whitman on the title page, illustrated with two full-page engraved portraits of Whitman at different ages. One of probably fewer than 100 copies printed.

In 1881 Boston publisher James Osgood asked Whitman to publish an expanded version of Leaves of Grass. Whitman responded that he would agree to such an edition on the condition that it include the "sexuality odes" which before had proved so controversial. The edition was published in Boston and had received promising reviews when on March 1 it was declared obscene by the district attorney. Osgood then asked Whitman to publish a version without the offending material. Whitman refused and asked that the plates to the Boston edition be delivered to him in Camden, New Jersey. He then promptly issued this Author's Edition from the Boston plates, with a new title page. "This is a scarce and almost unknown issue; it is doubtful if more than one hundred copies were printed. The text and type is the same as that used in the Boston edition, the title page only being different. All copies were autographed, and it is probable that Whitman had these made for a few friends while waiting for the first Philadelphia edition" (Wells & Goldsmith, 25). BAL 21418. Myerson A2.7.c3. Bound into the front of this copy is a letter, dated Philadelphia, June 26, 1882, reading in full: "My dear Doctor, At last I have been successful in getting this copy of 'Leaves of Grass.' Whitman assures me it is a complete edition of his works. Please accept it with my regards. Very truly, Robert B. Claxton." Ex-library, with library stamp to spine, occasional pencil markings to text.

Interior generally fine, with very faint marginal dampstaining to first few leaves and portraits only, not affecting text or images, minor paper repair to page 349-50, not affecting text; original yellow glossy endpapers remargined, expert restoration to original cloth.

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