Annotated Bibliography on "Song of Myself" .
"Preface to the 1855 Edition of Leaves of Grass." Concise Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Leah Jewell. 5th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001. 1018-1032.
Walt Whitman had a modest upbringing, but it was one in which he knew early he wanted to devote his life to literature. He was born in New York in 1819 to a carpenter's family of nine. Whitman began to learn the trade of writing and publication by age 12, when he took a job as a printer's assistant. He continued printing and teaching until 1841, when he turned to journalism full time and began fully immersing himself in literature. .
Whitman saw his poetry not only as a creation of the self, but indeed a piece of the self and a reflection of American society as a whole. On the first edition of Leaves of Grass Whitman purposely leaves his name off of the front cover. He chose instead, only to leave a picture of himself in a casual pose as if there was a universal understanding that he was not the only single creator of these ideas, but merely a participant in a greater purpose.
In essence, Whitman's goal seems to be overcoming all boundaries geographic, spiritual, and otherwise in an effort to bring forth the true freedom loving spirit of humanity. In the 1855 Preface to Leaves of Grass Whitman strives to show the importance of the common American and their "deathless attachment to freedom." Whitman strongly establishes his stance as purely pro American in describing all he admires about American people. He describes their simplicity yet rugged ability to survive, and conveys his admiration for them by saying "Here are the roughs and beards and space and ruggedness and nonchalance that the soul loves.". .
• Whitman, Walt. "Song of Myself." Concise Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Leah Jewell. 5th Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001. 1033-1080.