BAZALGETTE, Leon. Les Dormeurs poeme par Walt Whitman.
(Paris): Francois Bernouard, 1919. First edition thus. Quarto. Unpaginated. A new version, as a free translation, of Whitmans poem that has become known as “The Sleepers”. The poem was first published as the fourth of the twelve untitled poems in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. In the 1856 edition it became “Night Poem,” and in the 1860 and 1867 editions it is titled “Sleep-Chasings.” It acquired its final title in the 1871 edition. The poem was much revised as it passed through these various editions. Most significantly, after the 1871 edition Whitman excised from the end of section 1 a strikingly explicit description of sexual arousal and orgasm, and at the end of section 7 he eliminated a passage in which the persona identifies first with Lucifer, then with a slave whose “woman” has been sold downriver, and finally with a whale. Some scholars have felt that these deletions were motivated more by Whitman’s desire to accommodate his critics than for aesthetic concerns, nevertheless it remains one of Whitman’s most complex and rewarding poems. The edition here illustrated with ten original woodcuts and additional decorative blocks. A very good copy in printed wrappers. Published in a total edition of 360 copies of which this is copy No. 100.
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