Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: William D O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 14 March 1883

Date: March 14, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: syr.00021

Source: Walt Whitman Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library, Syracuse, N.Y. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: The annotation, "see notes March 23 1889," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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Providence, R.I.
98 Congdon Street,
March 14, 1883.

Dear Walt:

After I telegraphed you today, I got the proofs, mailed from Washington, and immediately sat down and have spent most of the day proof reading. I return the sheets with this evening's mail, and as I shall not probably see another proof, I hope you will see that the corrections are carefully made, since I loathe typographical errors.

I wish you would see that the printer puts all names of books into italics, as my copy indicated. I don't like to see a page so dotted with guillemets or quotation marks. Besides, this was the plan followed in the pamphlet—"The Good Gray Poet."

One thing I must beg, that you will restore to its place in the text so much of Emerson's letter as my MS gave. I had a tussle with Dr. Bucke about this, and he gave in, and allowed that there was no reason why the letter should not appear twice, or even three times in different parts of the book, for different reasons. It is absolutely necessary to my point on Cook that the letter should stand right up there and face him in the context, and I beg you to have this done.

Be sure and let me have (sent here, until further notice) the proofs of the Good Gray Poet. There is a bit of it appended to these slips, and I notice that my first footnote has been changed, not entirely to my taste. What I wrote explained the somewhat too enigmatic "sad pleasure" of the text, and the revised version ignores the point. I thought what I wrote perfectly deserved, besides, for Lowell is a perfect cad, and deserves the kick I gave him in my footnote. His interference with that letter was an extraordinary piece of meanness and impudence, for which he deserved a sharper thrust than I gave him.

I am not sure, thinking it over, but that I may, when I see the proofs, take out three or four lines on the last page of the G.G.P.

I write in a hurry, so as to catch the mail, and not disappoint you. Jeannie is very ill, confined to her bed, perhaps never to be well again. I don't know, the prospect is distracting and gloomy.

I have been quite ill ever since I came here, and have read these proofs in a state of feebleness and confusion. It is probable that my state is reaction from the severe work of the winter at Washington.

More anon
W.D. O'Connor
Walt Whitman

P.S. If I can see a revise, I should like it.


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