TOWARDS DEMOCRACY : Original 1882 Edition - by Edward CARPENTER
A new presentation of the 1st edition of Carpenter's timeless classic. 'Towards Democracy' is here presented in its original 1882 Edition. It is similar in vision and attitude to Walt Whitman's 'Leaves of Grass' and has been hailed by many as the closest that anyone in England has come to writing a comparable work.
"Edward Carpenter is rather forgotten today, partly because he was a pioneer whose work has passed into our heritage. He was a poet and a prose writer, and a reformer and a mystic and a socialist and a manual worker who preferred the working classes to his own. He won't be easy to sum up." E.M. Forster
Return to the 1st Edition: This volume provides the complete text of the 1882 edition of the work, the one in which Carpenter first presented the maturity of his poetical vision to the English reading public. It is a stunning piece of work, and one too often passed over without sufficient comment, as it bears claim to be the closest equivalent to Walt Whitman's own masterpiece - 'Leaves of Grass' - e.g. take the following short passage, selected from 'Towards Democracy' :
"As the sun on a dull morning breaking through
the clouds - so from behind the sun another sun,
from within the body another body
- these shattered falling -
Lo! now at last or yet awhile in due time to
behold that which ye have so long sought -
O eyes, no wonder you are intent."
All of the subsequent editions of 'Towards Democracy' built on the firm foundations of the 1882 edition, and though they added to it greatly, they never surpassed it in the vitality and beauty of his original burst of inspiration. As far as an understanding of the work is concerned, the reader will find the extra materials provided in this edition of particular assistance indeed.
Features of this Volume: Biographical Note on the life of Edward Carpenter by Richard Maurice Bucke (Author of the book 'Cosmic Consciousness'), an Introductory Note on the poem by Edward Carpenter himself, and three Appendices with further supplementary materials - Appendix A. 'Consciousness without Thought' (an Essay from Edward Carpenter's volume 'From Adam's Peak to Elephanta') Appendix B. 'Edward Carpenter's Message to His Age', an Essay by Mrs. Havelock Ellis, giving a 19th century perspective. Appendix C. Select Bibliography of other works by Carpenter.
[Freedom at Last]
I arise out of the dewy night and shake my wings.
Tears and lamentations are no more. Life and death lie stretched below me. I breathe the sweet æther blowing of the breath of God.
Deep as the universe is my life - and I know it; nothing can dislodge the knowledge of it; nothing can destroy, nothing can harm me.
Joy, joy arises - I arise. The sun darts overpowering piercing rays of joy through me, the night radiates it from me.
I take wings through the night and pass through all the wildernesses of the worlds, and the old dark holds of tears and death - and return with laughter, laughter, laughter:
Sailing through the starlit spaces on outspread wings, we two - O laughter! laughter! laughter!
Freedom! the deep breath! the word heard centuries and centuries beforehand; the soul singing low and passionate to itself: Joy! Joy!
Not as in a dream. The earth remains and daily life remains, and the scrubbing of doorsteps, and the house and the care of the house remains; but Joy fills it, fills the house full and swells to the sky and reaches the stars: all Joy!
O freed soul! soul that has completed its relation to the body! O soaring happy beyond words, into other realms pasing, salutations to you, freed, redeemed soul!
What is certain, and not this? What is solid? - the rocks? the mountains? destiny?
The gates are thrown wide open all through the universe. I go to and fro - through the heights and depths I go and I return: All is well.
Also Includes: This volume also includes 2 images, a Portrait of Edward Carpenter and a phtograph of the hut in Millthorpe where he wrote most of the poetic work 'Towards Democracy'.