Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to an Unidentified Correspondent, [late 1879–early 1880]

Date: 1879–1880

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. Ted Genoways (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004), vol. 7.

Location: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Whitman Archive ID: yal.00433

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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. . . are already getting to be pretty numerous and outspoken.1

Walt Whitman.

Sometimes I think it would be better still to make a compact and finished Vol. of the whole issue of "Leaves of Grass," including the former ones with the new ones, for they are all of a uniform pattern.—This would afford a splendid living American Vol. that would go like the devil through the West, and among the young men everywhere.—


1. This fragment appears to be a draft letter, evidenced both by the informal signature and the fact that it appears on the verso of a draft of Whitman's poem, "Others May Praise What They Like." The revisions of the poem appear to be an intermediary stage between the version that first appeared in Drum-Taps and the revised version that first appeared in the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass. This would suggest that the letter on the reverse side might also date from the years just before 1881. The content of the postscript which comprises most of what survives from this draft is mostly concerned with "the West" and the possiblity of a "uniform Vol. " of Leaves of Grass. Because Whitman's visit to the West fell in the summer and fall of 1879 and he began preparing the single volume Leaves in early 1880, we must conclude that the letter dates from somewhere in that period of time. [back]


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