Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William D. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 17 August 1883

Date: August 17, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03295

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.

Editorial note: The annotation, "see notes Sept 21 1891," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Nicole Gray, Stefan Schöberlein, and Elizabeth Lorang

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Washington, D.C.
August 17, 1883

Dear Walt:

I enclose the letters from Riley and Bathgate you sent me long ago, and which should have been returned earlier, and would have been but for the maelstrom confusion in which I have lived the sad year past. All the letters you told me to forward to Bucke went on to him except one, which was overlooked, and has been sent lately.

I was very much touched with what Ruskin wrote, which seemed to me to be very strongly on your side. You appear to have a different impression, judging by some remarks you make in a letter of last October, and perhaps have some other information. It seems a great thing to say, as Ruskin does, that your book "is deadly true—in the sense of rifles—against our deadliest social sins"—and also that its fruit is "ungatherable save by loving and gleaning hands, and by the blessed ones of the poor." I understand this as a high endorsement, coupled with a bitter indictment of English society. But maybe mine is a misreading.

I never told you about Macaulay's article on you in the "Nineteenth Century." It is certainly very fine, and I greatly enjoyed it. His reservations were completely oversloughed by his eulogy.

Do you hear any more of Rolleston's German translation?

The Nation this week (I have just seen it) does not print my reply, which may have come too late, and perhaps will appear next week.

Your postal card of the 14th came. What a good time you must have. Well I know that delightful Germantown landscape, and the unmatched Wissahikon.

The enclosed about the Nirvana is good. I never believed that the Buddhist meant annihilation.

I sent Tucker one of Bucke's books, in souvenir of the gallant stand he made for you against the authorities. Did you send Mrs. Ritter one? I want to avoid sending to anyone who may have received the book already. You have probably sent one to Mrs. Gilchrist.



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