Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 23 June 1885

Date: June 23, 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), 3:395–396. 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.00803

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein and Kyle Barton



Just recd this | Looks as if W. was | not going to move. I | shall try him again by & by, | J. B.1


328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey
June 23 '85

Dear John Burroughs

Yours just received (with the 10—many thanks—)—the kind invitation reiterated2—&c—I am in pretty fair condition generally, but unable to walk or get around, except very small stretches, & with effort—somehow feel averse to leaving this shanty of mine—where I am probably getting along better than you think—

Mrs Gilchrist's essay has appeared in the To-Day—probably she will send it to you—if not, I will send you mine—It is a noble paper—I have a little poem to appear in the Outing, perhaps in the forthcoming number3—Mary Smith & all the family (our Germantown friends) start for Europe to-morrow to be gone over a year.

As I write it is a delightful day—temperature perfect—I take the car to the ferry, & get out on the river every pleasant day.


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
The naturalist John Burroughs (1837–1921) met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a lifelong correspondence with Burroughs. Burroughs was magnetically drawn to Whitman. However, the correspondence between the two men is, as Burroughs acknowledged, curiously "matter-of-fact." Burroughs would write several books involving or devoted to Whitman's work: Notes on Walt Whitman, as Poet and Person (1867), Birds and Poets (1877), Whitman, A Study (1896), and Accepting the Universe (1924). For more on Whitman's relationship with Burroughs, see Carmine Sarracino, "Burroughs, John [1837–1921] and Ursula [1836–1917]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This note is on the top of the letter and is in Burroughs's handwriting. [back]

2. Burroughs invited Whitman to visit him at West Park, NY, on May 18. The letter reiterating the invitation is seemingly lost. [back]

3. "The Voice of the Rain." [back]


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