Commentary

Interviews and Reminiscences

About this Item

Title: Personal

Creator: Anonymous

Date: November 11, 1881

Publication information: Boston Evening Transcript 11 November 1881.

Source: Our transcription is based on a photocopy of a microfilm copy of an original issue.

Whitman Archive ID: med.00533

Contributors to digital file: Brett Barney, Nic Swiercek, and Shea Montgomerey



After three months' work in Boston, working with the printer at his case, the author of these poems returned to his home at Camden on Thursday. The deck hands and gate keepers on the ferries, who have known the stalwart figure in past years, noticed its absence during the summer months, and marked its reappearance in the midst of the wind and storm of Thursday night. True to his old habit, the poet spent an hour or more on the ferry, swinging pendulum-like between this city and Camden. A Press reporter who conversed with him at that time stood close to the poet, on his windward side, to hear all that he said.

"Did you find the literary society of Boston more sympathetic than any other, as Bostonians say it is?"

"In one respect I did. The people are undemonstrative, exclusive, and their blood chills me, for I call myself a Southerner. But I think they have greater perception and are more intuitive in their judgment. Speaking solely of myself, everyone there treated me kindly, and the young people made a great deal of me, but, perhaps, that was on account of my gray hair. The publishers were capital fellows. I had a desk at the printing-house, and superintended everything, even the type in which the book was printed, and they made my task very enjoyable. There are men and women who bear by intuition and understand by their hearts. In Boston I find some of these people. As I grow older, I am more and more ready to take the good there is in men and authors, without concerning myself about the bad. Of the American poets I like Bryant better than Longfellow or Whittier, and Emerson better than either."

"I spent considerable time in New York," he adds, "and a number of weeks on Long Island, my native place. What is the literary society of New York? I can't answer that. I like the city itself exceedingly, and I think it will in a short time become a cosmopolitan city such as there is not at present in the world. Don't ask me to class Philadelphia with Boston, New York, or the wide-awake Western cities. I never heard that Philadelphia had any literary perception, fine taste or judgment. It is a place for material things and conservative people, for fat conventionalities and well-established customs. I cannot class it with other cities, and you must not compel me to talk about it. So many of my good friends are here that I must call it my home."


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