Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walter Delaplaine Scull to Walt Whitman, 14 October 1889

Date: October 14, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03724

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 notes: The annotations, "book sent Oct 26," "book sent," and "Walter [Delaplaine Scull?]," are in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Ashlyn Stewart, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock

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The Queens Hotel. Manchester.
Monday. Oct. 14. 1889.

Dear Sir

I write, enclosing money for book and postage, hoping that the 300th copy of this last edition1 of your works has not yet been sold; I am very anxious to possess a copy, and to read and judge you finally for myself by the work you yourself approve best, as hitherto some ill fortune has prevented me from getting anything like a comprehensive survey of your Art.—The latter word is one which may jar on your ear, as suggesting Art—ificiality! But you must know that I am an artist, and am able, out of my craftman's knowledge, to separate Art as craft from Art as the thing that binds mortals in the bonds of sympathy with Nature.—What a hard thing it is to put down plainly and squarely what one means! I mean that I want to get a better view of you as Artist, apart from Art-craftsman. I don't remember coming across any positive statement of your opinion on the latter, but you must be the former, however much you despise conventional artistic forms.—Forgive some vagueness of statement,—I am still a very young man.—Please send the book, if you still can spare one, to the address,

2. Langland Gardens. Frognal.
Finchley Road. London. N. W. England

And believe me
Yours sincerely
Walter Delaplaine Scull

Walter Delaplaine Scull (1863–1915), born in Bath, Somerset, was the son of Gideon Delaplaine Scull and Anna Holder Scull. He was educated at Oxford and later became an artist and writer.


1. Whitman had a special pocket-book edition printed in honor of his 70th birthday, May 31, 1889, through special arrangement with Frederick Oldach. Only 300 copies were printed, and Whitman signed the title page of each one. The volume also included the annex Sands at Seventy and his essay A Backward Glance O'er Traveled Roads. See Whitman's May 16, 1889, letter to Oldach. For more information on the book see Ed Folsom, Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary (University of Iowa: Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, 2005). [back]


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