Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Swinton, [28 September (?) 1868]

Date: September 28, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01585

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:49–50. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Janel Cayer, Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

(qu?) To make a Personal item or ¶ for "Minor Topics."1

qu? To commence for instance

"With the bright, crispy autumn weather,

WALT WHITMAN again makes his appearance on the sidewalks of Broadway," &c &c

(three or four lines on personnel as lounging along)


item the obstinacy,2 pertinacity or continuity of Leaves of Grass & of the personality of W. W. in current Literature notwithstanding all attacks & objections


The poems have been republished in England, & are being translated by Freiligrath for publication in Germany.3


allude to the proposed prose work—"Democratic Vistas."


Cant you put in the idea of an obstinate, tenacious, determined living man, appearing with a will, in our easy-going imitative literature.


1. Endorsed (in unknown hand): "Mem sent to John Swinton | for publication by WW."

The news item appeared under "Minor Topics" in the New York Times on October 1, 1868. Swinton followed the outline proposed by Walt Whitman, and even quoted at places. The first sentence was Walt Whitman's except for the substitution of "New York" for "Broadway." Swinton wrote: "The pertinacity of the existence of these 'leaves' is certainly remarkable in the face of all attacks and objections; and his admirers can only attribute it to the appearance in our easy-going, imitative literature of an obstinate, tenacious, determined living American man." The Washington Star reprinted the article on October 2, 1868. See also Edwin Haviland Miller, "A Whitman Note to John Swinton," Walt Whitman Review 6 (December 1960), 72–73. [back]

2. Walt Whitman put a question mark above this word. [back]

3. This was an exaggeration of Freiligrath's intention, or wishful thinking; see Walt Whitman's January 26, 1869 letter to Freiligrath. [back]


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