Breaking Bounds invigorates the study of Whitman and American culture by presenting essays that demonstrate Whitman's centrality to the widest range of social, political, literary, sexual, and cultural discourses of his time and ours. Bringing together a distinguished group of cultural criticsworking in the fields of literature, American studies, Latin American studies, European studies, art history, and gay/lesbian/queer studies, the volume persistently opens new vistas in the ways we see Whitman and provides a model for the newest and brightest intellectual efforts associated with"cultural studies." Central to the volume is a set of provocative essays in queer studies that break the bounds of decorum that have too long separated Whitman's sexuality from his politics, and his poetry from both. The Whitman that emerges from these collected essays is renewed for a newgeneration of literary scholars working to define the places and the functions of his poetic words in the world. Taken as a whole, the volume points to the interdisciplinary future of American literary and cultural studies. Breaking Bounds is essential reading for anyone interested in Whitman bothinside and outside the academy.