Whitman is most famous for his Leaves of Grass, unfolding his vision in a series of leaf-metaphors printed on leaves of paper. But there were other leaves in his books - leaves from trees, collected and pressed, given by Whitman and to him from friends and would-be lovers, a common practice in the nineteenth century. This chapter asks what Whitman’s leaves can tell us about the metaphor of leaves in his poetry and his purposeful linking of the world of print and the natural world. Bound up with these leaves are questions of authorship, ephemera, and archival practice, as today, Whitman’s printed and manuscript leaves draw thousands of dollars at auction, while the pressed leaves in his books and scrapbooks are sometimes discarded by libraries and often overlooked by critics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities(all)