Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 29 March [1883]

Date: March 29, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: med.00681

Source: The current location of this manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:334–335. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

March 291

I have run over the Carlyle proof & being in the mood have thought best to mark (of course for your consideration—you may have something behind which I do not see) out certain passages just as they summarily imprest me—clearly though rapidly feeling as I went along that the article would be bettered & more unitary without them. What you set out mainly to say & have to say, seems to me very well said indeed, & I like the article—What you have to offer as the Carlyle-foil, in defence of America, I dont like so well—(besides it is unnecessary any how—Unless one has got something outsmashing C himself—a battery-ram that batters his ram to the dust)—

Write when you can—Do you want me to send you papers or any thing?—always yours



1. The year is established by the following: on March 31, 1883, Whitman noted in his Commonplace Book (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.) that he had "read John Burroughs's 'Carlyle' proof"; on May 20 Burroughs referred to his article to which he was "adding a page about Mrs. C. as revealed by her letters" (Syracuse University; Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, April 7, 1889, 510); and the article, entitled "Carlyle," appeared in The Century Magazine in August, 1883. After writing "Carlyle and Emerson" for The Critic, 2 (20 May 1882), 140–141, and an unsigned review of Froude's Thomas Carlyle in The Century Magazine, 24 (June 1882), 307–308, Burroughs began to gather material for a more extended article, as he informed Whitman from London on June 16, 1882 (Traubel, Monday, August 20, 1888, 171). [back]


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