Marilyn Monroe Reads Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1952)

marilyn reads walt

We’ve tak­en you inside Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe’s per­son­al library, which includ­ed “no short­age of great lit­er­ary works – every­thing from Invis­i­ble Man by Ralph Elli­son, to Ulysses by James Joyce, to Crime And Pun­ish­ment by Fyo­dor Dos­to­evsky and The Plays Of Anton Chekhov.” And speak­ing of Ulysses, we’ve also revis­it­ed a 1955 pho­to­shoot where the pio­neer­ing pho­to­jour­nal­ist Eve Arnold cap­tured Mon­roe read­ing a worn copy of James Joyce’s mod­ernist clas­sic in a play­ground. By the looks of things, Mon­roe was mak­ing her way through the final chap­ter, some­times known as “Mol­ly Bloom’s Solil­o­quy.”

Today, we have Mon­roe read­ing Leaves of Grass by Walt Whit­man. In his biog­ra­phy The Return of Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe, Sam Stag­gs notes that “Walt Whit­man was [Mon­roe’s] favorite poet, even more than Carl Sand­burg. She loved him from the moment a New York friend gave her [Leaves of Grass] years ear­li­er.” Stag­gs con­tin­ues, “She often read Whit­man for relax­ation. The rhythm of his long free lines of verse lulled and stim­u­lat­ed her at the same time.” The pho­to above was seem­ing­ly tak­en by John Flo­rea at the Bev­er­ly Carl­ton Hotel cir­ca 1952. You can find a whole Pin­ter­est board ded­i­cat­ed to Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe read­ing here.

Feel free to down­load free copies of Leaves of Grass and Ulysses from our Free eBooks and Free Audio Books col­lec­tions.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe Reads Joyce’s Ulysses at the Play­ground (1955)

A Look Inside Mar­i­lyn Monroe’s Per­son­al Library

FBI’s “Vault” Web Site Reveals Declas­si­fied Files on Hem­ing­way, Ein­stein, Mar­i­lyn & Oth­er Icons

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.