Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 15 December 1882

Date: December 15, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: pri.00036

Source: Robert H. Taylor Collection, Princeton University. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2004), 7:66–67. 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

Camden N J
Dec: 15 '82

Dear friend

Yours of 12th recd. I sent Dowden's letter soon after getting it, to O'Connor, with written request on it to send to Dr Bucke, with similar request to him to send to you—I supposed you had it a fortnight or more ago.1 I yesterday wrote to O'Connor about it asking him to forward to you directly. The same round (to O'C—to Dr. B and to you) to a long notice of "Specimen Days" in the "Academy" by Dowden2—I supposed you had rec'd both—I fancy you certainly will get them—perhaps you have already—

I have those Emerson vols (just as you lent them to me over 10 years ago) boxed up & stored with other traps in Washington at the house of old Mr Nash, Peter Doyle's uncle—Shall surely have the boxes here before long, (or go on & overhaul them) & if that will do—will certainly see the vols are sent to you—

I am quite over my bad spell of a month ago—havn't made any move from Camden yet, but shall—"Specimen Days" moves pretty sluggishly—no great demand—L of G. better, but by no means what was anticipated—

I am more than satisfied, however—every thing might have been so much worse—& best of all, in my mind, on looking over L of G. as it now stands—I don't worry about how much better it ought to be, but thankful it is as well as it is—I am content to let it rest, to let it go as it is, without the least wish to meddle with it any more, (a feeling I havn't had before, but now certainly settled.)

I have a criticism on Burns in to-morrows 'Critic'3—Love to 'Sula and the dear little fellow—(I bear you all more in mind than you think for)—I hear there is a notice of L of G. in Dec. "Nineteenth Century"4


John, I shall return that $100 I borrowed shortly5


1. About November 10, Whitman received a letter from Edward Dowden which he characterized as "like a kindly living talk and hand clasp" (see Whitman's letter to Dowden of November 10, 1882), and then forwarded it to William D. O'Connor, who was to send it to Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke and John Burroughs. The letter is apparently lost. [back]

2. Dowden's review of Specimen Days appeared in The Academy on November 18, 1882, as he informed Whitman on November 21 (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Saturday, September 22nd, 1888, 363). [back]

3. Whitman sent "Robert Burns" to Jeannette L. Gilder of The Critic on December 7, and it appeared on December 15. [back]

4. G. C. Macaulay's review of Leaves of Grass appeared in The Nineteenth Century, 12 (December 1882), 903–18. [back]

5. On April 28, 1882, after Whitman decided to purchase the plates of the Osgood edition of Leaves of Grass, he asked Burroughs for a loan of $100, which he repaid on January 17, 1883 (Daybooks and Notebooks, ed. William White [New York: New York University Press, 1977], 2:310). [back]


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