I’ve posted already on the subject of whether writers should feel emboldened or reluctant to issue improved editions of their works. It’s a subject I continue to find interesting.
Walt Whitman is one of my literary heroes, and Leaves of Grass did much to influence my novel Beheld. So I suppose it’s both important to observe that Whitman revised Leaves of Grass many times.
Between the time these pictures were taken (more or less), he published six (a conservative count) revised editions.
When Whitman finished the so-called “Deathbed Edition,” he made this announcement in the New York Herald:
“Walt Whitman wishes respectfully to notify the public that the book Leaves of Grass, which he has been working on at great intervals and partially issued for the past thirty-five or forty years, is now completed, so to call it, and he would like this new 1892 edition to absolutely supersede all previous ones. Faulty as it is, he decides it as by far his special and entire self-chosen poetic utterance.”