Title: George W. Christy to Walt Whitman, 3 June 1882
Date: June 3, 1882
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: This photocopy is held in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.05969
Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman and Nicole Gray
Your "Leaves of Grass," has just been placed in my hands.
You are a dirty fellow; no question about that, but, what is Dirt?
You are a Poet. No question about that, but, what is Poetry?
An enigma to yourself, knowing no difference between right and wrong; equally expressive of each & either, at times all right and in the love of it; at times all wrong, and in the love of it—a mystery you know not where you Stand! Let me place you.—
You belong to the Sans-Culottism of Humanity, whose office it is and duty it is, so thoroughly to express Ourselves that we shall ever after be in absolute liberty and free agency wishing to live in the dirt, filth and mire of Sans-Cullottism or arise to the dignity of a life with Christ in the Body of Humanity—
If you can recognize a Brotherhood of Sans-Culottism with yourself in these few things, say so; if not, let it "[werk?]" as the little boy said, but I warn you that, Sans-Culottism to my mind may [illegible] Consequences far beyond your present thought!
Geo. W. Christy
#9 [illegible] St
New Orleans La June 3'/82.—