Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: William Sloane Kennedy to Walt Whitman, 31 March 1890

Date: March 31, 1890

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03072

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 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.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Ian Faith, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock



page image
image 1
page image
image 2


On cars.
Mond morn1

Dear W. W.

Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon) read again with deepest interest the Songs of Parting. I keep touching deeper & not before understood tho'ts with my plummet in reading you,—espec. in these solemn hymns of the Infinite. The productions of Homer & Milton seem quite boyish in comparison with the profound cosmic epic L. of G. It is a refreshing draught to me after the Bafflement of the week in newspapers. Be sure to read Tyndall's2 fascinating long article of reminiscences of Carlyle3 in January Fortnightly.

With the old love—
W. S. K.


Correspondent:
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and later published biographies of Longfellow and Whittier (Dictionary of American Biography). Apparently Kennedy had called on the poet for the first time on November 21, 1880 (William Sloane Kennedy, Reminiscences of Walt Whitman [1896], 1). Though Kennedy was to become a fierce defender of Whitman, in his first published article he admitted reservations about the "coarse indecencies of language" and protested that Whitman's ideal of democracy was "too coarse and crude"; see The Californian, 3 (February 1881), 149–158. For more about Kennedy, see Katherine Reagan, "Kennedy, William Sloane (1850–1929)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This postal card is addressed: Walt Whitman | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Boston | Mass. | Mar 31 90 | 10 30 AM; Camden, N.J. | Apr | 1 | 9 AM | 1890 | Rec'd. [back]

2. John Tyndall (1820–1893) was a British physicist, science teacher, public intellectual, and a pioneer mountain climber. His "Personal Recollections of Carlyle" was published in the Fortnightly Review in January 1890. [back]

3. Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881) was a Scottish essayist, historian, lecturer, and philosopher. His History of Friedrich II of Prussia, called Frederick the Great was published in 1858. For more on Carlyle, see John D. Rosenberg, Carlyle and the Burden of History (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1985). [back]


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.