Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is widely considered to be the greatest and most influential of all American poets. LEAVES OF GRASS, Whitman's sole book published at his own expense, represents almost the entirety of his poetical output. The first edition of LEAVES OF GRASS, which he would continue to revise over the course of his life expanding and rewriting it until the year of his death, appeared in 1855. This volume represents the final edition, commonly referred to as the “deathbed” edition, and comes with a prefatory note from Whitman asserting that this is the version he most considered full and complete. While it was a commercial and critical failure during Whitman’s lifetime, LEAVES OF GRASS has gone on to become one of the most canonical books of poetry ever written, influencing and inspiring countless artists in the last two centuries. Written in a groundbreaking prosodic style Whitman referred to as “free verse” LEAVES OF GRASS takes the individual and a young American democracy as its themes and illustrates them with a long-lined cadence Whitman coined his “barbaric yawp” along with all the details that constitute them, a few being sexual love, commonplace American scenes and personalities, the Civil War, the physical landscape of America, and freedom in all its many facets—sexual, religious, political, philosophical, etc. Whitman was very much aware of his book’s singularity, and his preface to the 1855 edition as well as his epilogue to this edition titled "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads" are inspiring essays where he lays out his ideas about poetry and why his was written in a deliberately different way illustrating beautifully an iconoclastic impulse common to all great artists but shiningly apparent in Whitman because of LEAVES OF GRASS’ stark departure from everything else being published at its time. This edition of Leaves of Grass—the ninth edition in the Reader’s Library Series—endeavors to recreate as much as an e-book’s virtual typesetting will allow Whitman’s final published manuscript. Also look for the tenth book in the series which is a recreation of the 1855 debut edition of LEAVES OF GRASS.