Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William Sloane Kennedy, 26 February [1891]

Date: February 26, [1891]

Whitman Archive ID: med.00937

Source: The location of the original manuscript is unknown. Miller derives his transcription from a transcript of the letter published in William Sloane Kennedy's book Reminiscences of Walt Whitman (London: Alexander Gardner, 1896), 68. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 5:170. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Ryan Furlong, Amanda J. Axley, Cristin Noonan, and Stephanie Blalock




Feb. 26.

Depress'd bad condition, how it is going to end doubtful.


Correspondent:
William Sloane Kennedy (1850–1929) was on the staff of the Philadelphia American and the Boston Transcript; he also published biographies of Longfellow, Holmes, 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 [London: Alexander Gardener, 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).


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