Commentary

Selected Criticism

Title:
Gurowski, Count Adam de (1805–1866)
Author:
Hatch, Frederick
Print source:
J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings, eds., Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), reproduced by permission.

In spite of his aristocratic origins, Polish author and social and political commentator Adam Gurowski understood and identified with American democracy and became an early and sincere admirer of Whitman. Gurowski was a naturally curious lover of intrigue, using his charm and intellect to insinuate himself into the company of the powerful and influential.

Arriving in New York (1849), Gurowski quickly became involved in American life, first meeting Whitman at Pfaff's restaurant. Gurowski moved to Washington (1861) and found work reading foreign newspapers and translating for the State Department, a job he lost because of his harsh criticism of Lincoln and Seward. Gurowski published his Diary in three volumes (1862, 1864, 1866). Full of gossip and outspoken opinions, the Diary was a great success. In it he referred to "the loftiest, the most original and genuine American hearts and minds. Such a one is the poet Walt Whitman" (Gurowski 3:187).

Whitman appreciated the count's publicly stated words of praise. He attended Gurowski's funeral, noting the presence of "all the big Radicals" (Whitman 275).

Bibliography

Chittenden, L.E. Recollections of President Lincoln and His Administration. New York: Harper, 1891.

Fischer, LeRoy H. Lincoln's Gadfly, Adam Gurowski. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1964.

Gurowski, Adam. Diary. Vol. 1. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1862; Vol. 2. New York: Carleton, 1864; Vol. 3. Washington: W.H. and O.H. Morrison, 1866.

Whitman, Walt. The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. Vol. 1. New York: New York UP, 1961.


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