Life & Letters


About this Item

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

Date: December 17, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00470

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

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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