Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 10 June 1885
Date: June 10, 1885
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:393–394. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library
Whitman Archive ID: duk.00802
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton
328 Mickle St Camden N J
June 10 '851
I return the MS—It has a magnificence of strength, originality & suggestion—& I adhere fully to what I advised in my former note2—I think a synopsis of V[ictor] H[ugo] and T[ennyson] with the other parts—& then this MS. brought in as the reason for writing synopsis—just the same as Homer?3 compiles the first 18 books of the Iliad, purely to bring in the remain[in]g 6—your main matter—
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and later published biographies of Longfellow and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography). Apparently Kennedy had called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman , 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
1. This letter is endorsed: "on MS of my | 'Poet As A | Craftsman.'" [back]
3. Whitman's question mark. [back]