Title: Edward Dowden to Walt Whitman, 31 August 1888
Date: August 31, 1888
Editorial note: The annotation, "See notes Nov 21 — 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.01501
Contributors to digital file: Jeannette Schollaert, Alex Ashland, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock
Aug 31. 1888
My dear W. Whitman,
Allow me to introduce to you Mr Lewis Fry,1 Member of Parliament for Bristol City, who is about to travel in the United States.
We rejoice to hear that your health is better, & that you are able to work at your "November Boughs"
Most truly yours
Edward Dowden (1843–1913), professor of English literature at the University of Dublin, was one of the first to critically appreciate Whitman's poetry, particularly abroad, and was primarily responsible for Whitman's popularity among students in Dublin. In July 1871, Dowden penned a glowing review of Whitman's work in the Westminster Review entitled "The Poetry of Democracy: Walt Whitman," in which Dowden described Whitman as "a man unlike any of his predecessors . . . Bard of America, and Bard of democracy." In 1888 Whitman observed to Traubel: "Dowden is a book-man: but he is also and more particularly a man-man: I guess that is where we connect" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, June 10, 1888). For more, see Philip W. Leon, "Dowden, Edward (1843–1913)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
1. Lewis Fry (1832–1921) was a British lawyer and Liberal Unionist politician who served as a Member of Parliament for Bristol for three terms between 1878 and 1900. [back]