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View Poll Results: The MR Literary Club January 2012 Vote
The poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins 3 27.27%
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman 4 36.36%
The poems of John Keats 0 0%
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge 2 18.18%
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation, translated by Seamus Heaney 2 18.18%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-14-2012, 08:28 AM   #16
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Hope I bought the right one... how can I tell? 1892 deathbed edition?

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Old 01-14-2012, 09:51 AM   #17
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Now, which sections are we reading, or all of them? Start with Inscriptions I guess.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:16 PM   #18
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There's a lot of versions of it...is it generally recommended to read the final version?
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I would think so, as he worked on Leaves of Grass all his life; continually expanding it.
There are multiple versions? Even though Whitman died in 1892? Anyway I will be reading my hardcover (150th Anniversary Edition; April 15, 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA) edition.

WT Sharpe did you have any subset of poems that you envisioned forming a core for discussion, or just the whole book?
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:28 PM   #19
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There are multiple versions? Even though Whitman died in 1892?
Yes, he was constantly revising and updating the work from its publication until his death.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:42 PM   #20
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Yes, he was constantly revising and updating the work from its publication until his death.
Oh I understood that part. I am just surprised that 120 years after his death there are still multiple versions being published.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:57 PM   #21
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Ah, that I'm not sure. When it was first nominated, I did a bit of searching on it and noticed how many different versions were available. I don't know which are still being published.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:21 PM   #22
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Cool! I'm already "reading" it via the Librivox podcasts. I also bought the Leaves of Grass - Death Bed Edition (Illustrated and Annotated) (Literary Classics Collection) from Amazon for quoting ($1.99).
Is this formatted well? Or has anyone read any other versions and can speak to how they're formatted?

I'm trying to decide whether to read this e-book or p-book. Of course I'd prefer e-book, but I'd want it to be formatted just as the author intended for poetry.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:55 PM   #23
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Is this formatted well? Or has anyone read any other versions and can speak to how they're formatted?

I'm trying to decide whether to read this e-book or p-book. Of course I'd prefer e-book, but I'd want it to be formatted just as the author intended for poetry.
That one seems to be formatted pretty well, and has some interesting annotations.

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There are multiple versions? Even though Whitman died in 1892? Anyway I will be reading my hardcover (150th Anniversary Edition; April 15, 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA) edition.

WT Sharpe did you have any subset of poems that you envisioned forming a core for discussion, or just the whole book?
That sounds like a fine version as well. As to any particular poems or subset of poems, I say what ever strikes your fancy. I find his open views on sexuality at a time when such subjects were not mentioned in polite society is one topic worth exploring. It's interesting that the man frequently dubbed "America's Poet" was so open about his homosexual, or perhaps more accurately, bi-sexual encounters in his work.

Since this is my first time taking part in the Literary Book Club, when does the discussion start?
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Old 01-14-2012, 08:32 PM   #24
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I started by reading biographical information and discovered that Whitman was apparently influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "The Poet". You can find more information and a further link to the essay here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Poet_(essay)
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Old 01-15-2012, 12:48 AM   #25
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Since this is my first time taking part in the Literary Book Club, when does the discussion start?
It starts on the first of the next month. However, this being poetry, I'm not sure I see a reason to wait so long to discuss. I was thinking of starting it earlier this month, within the next week, so that we can discuss as we're reading...
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:48 AM   #26
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Given the length of this book, I can see it becoming an ongoing discussion for some time to come. I suspect I'm not the only one here who's reading other things on their readers in addition to Leaves of Grass. This is the kind of book that people can still be commenting on months from now, long after other books have been read and discussed. Poetry should never be rushed.
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Old 01-16-2012, 05:21 PM   #27
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I found some more info on the various versions. I tried to find the text Tom recommended, but it's not available to buy on Sony. I know I could convert, but with poetry I didn't want the conversion to affect the formatting.

Maybe the rest of you already know, but the differences in versions can be very different. The first version Whitman published was around 100 pages while the final version he published was around 400, with the ones in between having various lengths between those two.

All the versions are still available but most of the "published" ones are either the first version (1855) or the last version (1891 "deathbed"). Hamlet53, the version you have, the 150th anniversary edition, is of the first edition. I looked at it online to consider getting it.

I went with the "deathbed" version but honestly, I'm not sure I picked the right one! It seems the deathbed version is what Whitman himself considered the complete "masterpiece" vision, while some literary critics see the first edition as the "truer" and "purer" version that started it all. Where it gets more confusing is that some of the more famous poems were apparently not in the first edition, and the poems that were in the first edition were revised and in places rewritten and reordered.

If I had the inclination I would've read them both to see the difference, but that's too much for me I think, especially when one version is so long already. So I'll go with the deathbed version to get the complete picture of it all and hope that even with its "bloating", as some call it, it'll still be a worthy edition to read.

A note - apparently if you're buying the ebook and it doesn't specify which version, it's probably the short 1855 version. The version I bought (the Bantam Classics one) noted that most editions will publish the shorter one just because it's shorter.

The version I have seems pretty well formatted, but there are no notes. I was disappointed, since the blurb in the ebook store said there would be.
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Old 01-16-2012, 08:14 PM   #28
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I also bought the Bantam version, from Kobo. I figured that way I could read it in odd moments on the Kobo app. Same experience with notes; it said it had them, but it doesn't.
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Old 01-16-2012, 10:56 PM   #29
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I know this has been brought up already, but is there any chance of settling on a key group of poems to discuss? Poetry takes time and I can't manage all of this in two weeks--not and appreciate it, at any rate. Moreover, the intro to the deathbed edition I'm reading says the quality of poems is uneven. I'm all for dipping into it, but at the same time I'd like to ensure I read the best/most important early. Help, please!
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Old 01-17-2012, 04:26 AM   #30
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I was rather dismayed by the length and the variations in quality of this collection. I'm uncertain as to how to approach it and I couldn't see myself finishing it in the near future.

So why not start with one of Whitman's more famous and beautiful poems such as, for example, "When Lilacs Last in the Door-yard Bloom’d"—the elegy on Abraham Lincoln. This is an acknowledged masterpiece and has so much complexity of tone and meaning that it could provide a very profitable experience.

I offer this purely as a personal suggestion and it is certainly not meant to usurp the authority and decisions of whoever decides to lead the discussion.

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