Title: Mocking all the textbooks
Creator: Walt Whitman
Date: Before or early in 1855
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00024
Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.
Editorial note: The general sentiment expressed in this manuscript fragment and the reference to "proofs and diagrams" are reminiscent of the poem "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer." That poem was not published until its inclusion in Drum-Taps in 1865. Edward Grier dates this manuscript to "before or early in 1855," however, probably because of the draft lines on the reverse of the leaf, which contributed to lines in the 1855 and 1856 editions of Leaves of Grass. Grier, drawing from Richard Maurice Bucke's Notes and Fragments (1899), also adds a bracketed conclusion to this prose note: "[We are so proud of our learning! As if it were anything to analyze fluids and call certain parts oxygen or hydrogen, or to map out stars and call . . .]" (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:164). These lines do not currently appear on the manuscript.
Related item: On the back of this note is a draft fragment that includes phrases and poetic lines. See nyp.00510.
Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Farrah Lehman, Kenneth M. Price, and Kevin McMullen
Behind Eluding Mocking all the textbooks and professors' expositions and proofs and diagrams and practical show, stand or lie millions of the [illegible] all the most beautiful and common facts.—[cut away]