True, story. Once someone told me that Walt Whitman was named after the bridge because he had been born under it.
Leaves of Grass was the Lolita of its day, it seems. It even horrified Emerson who had at first championed Whitman’s poetry. Then Emerson found it a bit too eplict.
Today, the book isn’t usually challenged or banned, but when it does, it is usually for the same reasons – homosexuality and sexuality in general.
And we can’t have that, obviously.
We like to think that we have moved beyond the Emerson reaction to Leave of Grass, but we haven’t. Look at Kim Davis – who refuses to uphold the laws she was sworn to. It’s one thing to move aside and let someone else do it; it’s quite another to refuse anyone from doing it. What gives the four time wife the right to inflict her view of religion on everyone?
Nothing, but that’s not how people in politics and news media played it.
And why is it that most “godly” seem the most un-godly?
Whitman’s poems are about humanity. Reading them we learn who we are. When we refuse basic rights to people, we also learn who we are. That answer is not a good one.