Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is today one of the most-recognized figures in American literary history: poet, patriot and faithful advocate of democracy. His name graces shopping malls, highway rest stops, and local high schools. He has adherents around the globe. But in his own time, critics denounced Walt Whitman as a "lunatic raving in pitiable delirium." They pronounced his signature book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, "slimy," "vile," and "beastly." One reviewer wished to see him whipped in public; another suggested he commit suicide. He was famously "banned in Boston." "I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the soul. I go with the slaves of the earth equally with the masters. And I will stand between the master and the slaves, entering into both so that both will understand me alike." - Walt Whitman.
Ulf Kjell Gür