Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 17 December 1882

Date: December 17, 1882

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:319–320. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00470

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

Dec: 17 '82

Dear friend

Yours of 15th rec'd2—J[ohn] B[urroughs] had written to me for the letter—he heard of it from Dowden himself)—Yes I too think D's words "sweet and beautiful"—I read yesterday the Dec. "Nineteenth Century" article (Josiah Child, of Trübner's, mailed me in sheets)—& like it much—You may not, on acct of the author's John Bull reservations, but I think it decidedly the best English (or any foreign) criticism yet printed. I will send you a copy (of the cheap N Y reprint) in two or three days—it was not ready last night—

William, as you are going to collect the "Tribune" letters, &c.3 I suggest that you ask Dr Bucke to give up the "Good Gray," & you include it—make a cluster of all you have written (Have you the "Times" article you furnish'd Raymond Dec: 1866?4 I have a copy, & can send you)—I think it would be just as well for you to so include, as Dr B has enough otherways—I hope you will like the idea—shall I ask Dr. B to give it up? there is something to me quite preferable in these collectanea at first hand for a life, affair, even history, out of which the modern intelligent reader, (a new race unknown before our time) can take and adapt & shape for him or herself—I send you the "Critic" with my piece on Burns5

Cold, cold—but very bright & sunny here to-day—I am well as usual—Wonder how the Heywood trial will eventuate—Somehow I feel clear that however it goes, we will "pluck the flower" &c &c from that however—So you must not feel anxious a bit—T W H Rolleston at Dresden, Saxony (with one or two German scholars) is translating L of G. into full German version6—expecting it to be ready next spring—He is an Irish gentleman, a college man, about 30 I think, married, & I suppose of some fortune—What I know of him (by quite considerable correspondence) I like much.

Merry Christmas


1. This letter is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service— | Treasury | Washington | D C. It is postmarked: Camden | (?) | 17 | 8 PM | N.J.; Washington, Recd. | Dec | 18 | 430 AM | 1882 | 2. [back]

2. O'Connor's letter appears to be lost. There is a letter from O'Connor to Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke on December 15 in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919 (Library of Congress, Washington D.C.). [back]

3. See the letter from Whitman to O'Connor of November 12, 1882[back]

4. See the letter from Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman of December 4, 1866[back]

5. See the letter from Whitman to Jeannette L. Gilder of December 7, 1882. O'Connor acknowledged receipt of The Critic on December 19[back]

6. See Whitman and Rolleston—A Correspondence, ed. Horst Frenz (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1951), 56–60, 69–70. [back]


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