Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Anne Gilchrist, 27 May 1883

Date: May 27, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: pml.00056

Source: The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, N.Y. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:340. 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

May 27 '83

Your good letter came four days ago—Herb's has also reached me2—both warmly appreciated & thanked—I keep well—am still here in C. but shall go off somewhere soon—Dr Bucke's book will be first published in England3—Josiah Child, (at Trübner's) will have some copies in a very few days, (to enter one at Stationers' Hall, London, to secure the English copyright: & to make the first sales)—You will see your pen & thought are in it4—Herb's picture intaglio forms the frontispiece—Mrs Stafford is about as well as usual again.5 It is a very warm Sunday afternoon—as I write up in my third story south room—



1. This letter is addressed: Mrs. Ann Gilchrist | 12 Well Road Hampstead | London England. It is postmarked: Camden | May | 27 | 5 PM | N.J.; Philadelphia | May | 27 | 1883 | Pa. [back]

2. Anne Gilchrist wrote on May 6, and Herbert on April 29. When Anne Gilchrist replied to Whitman on July 30, she was unexpectedly (and sensibly) critical of Bucke's biography: she particularly objected to "carefully gathering together again all the rubbish stupid or malevolent that has been written of you" and to "all that unmeaning, irrelevant clatter about what Rabelais or Shakespeare or the ancients & their times tolerated in the way of coarseness or plainness of speech." She also forwarded to Whitman her recent biography of Mary Lamb (1883). She wrote again on October 13–21. Apparently Whitman did not reply to either letter. [back]

3. The biography was published in London on June 15 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

4. Richard Maurice Bucke included extracts from Anne Gilchrist's article in The Radical from May, 1870 (204–206). [back]

5. Whitman was with the Staffords from May 12 to 15 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]


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