Walt Whitman. In 1855, Whitman published the first edition of Leaves of Grass , which he continued to revise, rearrange, and enlarge until his death in 1892. A revolutionary work that greatly influenced American poetry, it expressed Whitman's love for his country in lusty and controversial free verse that included homoerotic images. While many critics at the time found Leaves crude and vulgar, Emerson found Whitman's poetry to be decidedly American, democratic and plain. Whitman shared Thoreau's abolitionist sentiments, but the two parted company on politics; Whitman had an unbridled faith in democratic government, despite its imperfections. Hawthorne, Melville, and Poe. Nathaniel Hawthorne was fascinated by the dark side of the Puritan mind. His novels, especially the Scarlet Letter (1850) and the House of Seven Gables (1851), dealt with revenge, guilt, and pride.
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Edgar Allan Poe, controversial free verse, pioneering detective fiction