Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 13 November 1888

Date: November 13, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00619

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 The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 4 234. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Stefan Schöberlein, and Stephanie Blalock




Camden
P M Nov: 13 '881

A remarkably fine sunny day, & I went & sat in the warm bright bask of it from 12 to 1—Not much different in my condition—what there is, bends favorably. I am still imprison'd in my sick room—Please send the "Open Court"2 (in the bundle) to Dr Bucke3—Am comfortable & in good spirits—few visitors lately—


Walt Whitman


Correspondent:
William Douglas O'Connor (1832–1889) was the author of the grand and grandiloquent Whitman pamphlet "The Good Gray Poet," published in 1866 (a digital version of the pamphlet is available at "The Good Gray Poet: A Vindication"). For more on Whitman's relationship with O'Connor, see Deshae E. Lott, "O'Connor, William Douglas (1832–1889)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. This letter is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | 1015 O Street | Washington | D.C. It is postmarked: Camden (?) | Nov (?) | 8 PM | 88; Washington, Rec'd. | Nov 14 | 7 AM | 88 | 1. [back]

2. The Open Court for November 8 contained an article by Moncure D. Conway entitled "The Spiritualists' Confession." For more on Conway, see Philip W. Leon, "Conway Moncure Daniel (1832–1907)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998), 148. [back]

3. Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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