American poet Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, is a collection of poems notable for its frank delight in and praise of the senses, during a time when such candid displays were considered immoral. Where much previous poetry, especially English, relied on symbolism, allegory, and meditation on the religious and spiritual, Leaves of Grass exalted the body and the material world.
Whitman was inspired to begin Leaves of Grass after reading an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson which expressed a need for a uniquely American poet. When the book was first published, Whitman sent a copy to Emerson, whose praiseful letter of response helped launch the book to success. Whitman’s hero, Abraham Lincoln, read and enjoyed an early version of Leaves of Grass. Despite such high recommendations, Whitman faced charges of obscenity and immorality for his work, but this only led to increased popularity of the book.
Whitman continually revised and republished Leaves of Grass throughout his lifetime, notably adding the “Drum-Taps” section after Lincoln’s assassination. The book grew from 12 poems in its first publication, which Whitman paid for and typeset himself, to nearly 400 poems in its final, “Death Bed Edition.” This ... read more
The Prophet is a book of 26 prose poetry essays written in English by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran.It was originally published in 1923 by Alfred A. Knopf. It is Gibran's best known work. The Prophet has been translated into over forty different languages and has never been out of print.
The prophet, Almustafa, has lived in the foreign city of Orphalese for 12 years and is about to board a ship which will carry him home. He is stopped by a group of people, with whom he discusses topics such as life and the human condition. The book is divided into chapters dealing with love, marriage, ren, giving, eating and drinking, work, joy and sorrow, houses, clothes, buying and selling, crime and punishment, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, good and evil, prayer, pleasure, beauty, religion, and ... read more
Paradise Lost is an epic poem by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, re-divided into twelve books.
The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men" and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and man's free will.
Milton incorporates Paganism, classical Greek references, and Christianity within the poem. It deals with diverse topics from marriage, politics, and monarchy, and grapples with many difficult theological issues, including fate, predestination, the Trinity, and... read more
The Raven is noted for its musicality, stylized language and supernatural atmosphere, it tells of the mysterious visit of a talking raven to a distraught lover, tracing his slow descent into madness. This illustrated version contains detailed, masterly engravings by Gustave Dorés, from a 19th-century edition of The Raven, among the most popular American poems ever written. Dreamlike, otherworldly illustrations perfectly capture the bleak despair and mournful musings of Poe’s poem. Includes an introduction/analysis by Edmund. C. Stedman. ... read more
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust is a tragic play in two parts: Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil (translated as: Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy) and Faust. Der Tragödie zweiter Teil (Faust: The Second Part of the Tragedy). Although rarely staged in its entirety, it is the play with the largest audience numbers on German-language stages. Faust is Goethe's most famous work and considered by many to be one of the greatest works of German literature.... read more
Published in: 1306
Word count: 111,060 words
Dante Alighieri's poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise-the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation.