Walt Whitman, age 37, frontispiece to Leaves of Grass, Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y., animate block by Samuel Hollyer from a absent daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison.
Whitman claimed that afterwards years of aggressive for "the accepted rewards", he bent to become a poet. He aboriginal experimented with a array of accepted arcane genres which appealed to the cultural tastes of the period. As aboriginal as 1850, he began autograph what would become Leaves of Grass, a accumulating of balladry which he would abide alteration and alteration until his death. Whitman advised to address a audibly American ballsy and acclimated chargeless ballad with a accent based on the Bible. At the end of June 1855, Whitman afraid his brothers with the already-printed aboriginal copy of Leaves of Grass. George "didn't anticipate it account reading".
Whitman paid for the advertisement of the aboriginal copy of Leaves of Grass himself and had it printed at a bounded book boutique during their break from bartering jobs. A absolute of 795 copies were printed. No name is accustomed as author; instead, adverse the appellation folio was an engraved account done by Samuel Hollyer, but in the anatomy of the argument he calls himself "Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, disorderly, fleshly, and sensual, no sentimentalist, no stander aloft men or women or afar from them, no added bashful than immodest". The book accustomed its arch acclaim from Ralph Waldo Emerson, who wrote a adulatory bristles folio letter to Whitman and batten awful of the book to friends. The aboriginal copy of Leaves of Grass was broadly broadcast and afflicted up cogent interest, in allotment due to Emerson's approval, but was occasionally criticized for the acutely "obscene" attributes of the poetry. Geologist John Peter Lesley wrote to Emerson, calling the book "trashy, abusive & obscene" and the columnist "a affected ass". On July 11, 1855, a few canicule afterwards Leaves of Grass was published, Whitman's ancestor died at the age of 65.
In the months afterward the aboriginal copy of Leaves of Grass, analytical responses began absorption added on the potentially abhorrent animal themes. Admitting the added copy was already printed and bound, the administrator about did not absolution it. In the end, the copy went to retail, with 20 added poems, in August 1856. Leaves of Grass was revised and re-released in 1860 afresh in 1867, and several added times throughout the butt of Whitman's life. Several acclaimed writers admired the assignment abundant to appointment Whitman, including Bronson Alcott and Henry David Thoreau.
During the aboriginal publications of Leaves of Grass, Whitman had banking difficulties and was affected to assignment as a announcer again, accurately with Brooklyn's Daily Times starting in May 1857. As an editor, he oversaw the paper's contents, contributed book reviews, and wrote editorials. He larboard the job in 1859, admitting it is cryptic if he was accursed or chose to leave. Whitman, who about kept abundant notebooks and journals, larboard actual little advice about himself in the backward 1850s.