Title: Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, 9 May 1883
Date: May 9, 1883
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 The Letters of Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, ed. Artem Lozynsky (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1977).
Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: med.00708
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Natalie O'Neal, and Nicole Gray
Asylum for the Insane,
9th May 1883
My dear Walt
I returned home last evening and found plate proofs to the end of book and two post cards waiting me.1 I have been over the proofs and enclose some requiring corrections if these can still be made (or perhaps you have already made them). I like the book better and better, think it will do—As soon as you are able to fix date of publication let me know. I am up to my eyes in work
R M Bucke
Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).
1. These postcards are not extant. [back]