Title: Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Walt Whitman, 15 January 1887
Date: January 15, 1887
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.
Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977).
Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.04273
Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock
Isle of Wight.
Dear old man,
I the elder old man have received your Article in the Critic, & send you in return my thanks & New-Year's greeting on the wings of this East-wind, which, I trust, is blowing softlier & warmlier on your good gray head than here, where it is rocking the elms & ilexes of my Isle of Wight garden.1
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) succeeded William Wordsworth as poet laureate of Great Britain in 1850. The intense male friendship described in In Memoriam, which Tennyson wrote after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, possibly influenced Whitman's poetry. Tennyson began a correspondence with Whitman on July 12, 1871. Although Tennyson extended an invitation for Whitman to visit England, Whitman never acted on the offer.
1. Of this letter Walt Whitman observed: "Tennyson is an artist even when he writes a letter: this letter is protected all round from indecision, forwardness, uncertainty: it is correct—choice, final" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, April 15, 1888.). [back]