Title: Walt Whitman to Abraham Stoker, 6 March 1876
Date: March 6, 1876
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1964), 3:28. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia
Whitman Archive ID: uva.00372
Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad
Your letters have been most welcome to me—welcome to me as Person, & then as Author—I don't know which most—You did well to write to me so unconventionally, so fresh, so manly, & so affectionately too. I too hope (though it is not probable) that we shall one day personally meet each other. Meantime I send you my friendship & thanks.
Edward Dowden's3 letter containing among others your subscription for a copy of my new edition, has just been rec'd. I shall send the books very soon by express in a package to his address. I have just written to E. D.4
My physique is entirely shatter'd—doubtless permanently—from paralysis & other ailments. But I am up & dress'd, & get out every day a little—live here quite lonesome, but hearty, & good spirits.
Write to me again.
1. This letter's envelope bears the address, "Abraham Stoker | 119 Lower Baggot street | Dublin, | Ireland." It is postmarked:"Camden | Mar | 6 | N.J." [back]
2. Stoker (1847–1912) was the author of Dracula, secretary to Sir Henry Irving, and editor of Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving (1906). As a young man, on February 18, 1872, Stoker wrote a personal, eccentric letter to Walt Whitman which he did not send until February 14, 1876. In the earlier letter he had written: "How sweet a thing it is for a strong healthy man with a woman's eyes and a child's wishes to feel that he can speak so to a man [Walt Whitman] who can be if he wishes, father, and brother and wife to his soul." Stoker visited Walt Whitman in 1884 (Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer (New York: Macmillan, 1955), 516). [back]
3. 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). [back]