Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 9 August 1878

Date: August 9, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00068

Source: T. E. Hanley Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. 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.

Notes for this letter were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Editorial notes: The annotation, "Sent to Tennyson | Aug 9 '78 | Aldworth | Blackdown | Haslemere | (or elsewhere) | England," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "Walt Whitman," is in an unknown hand.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Anthony Dreesen, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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Aug 9 '781

My dear Tennyson

The last letter I sent you was Sept 14 '76,2 (nearly two years ago) to which I have received no response. I also sent my Two Vols: new edition—having rec'd your subscription of 5£ (with an intimation from Robert Buchanan that no books were expected in return—but I preferr'd to send them)3

I am still in the land of the living—much better & robuster the last two years, & especially the last six months, (though a partial paralytic yet)—I find the experiences of invalidism & the loosing of corporeal ties not without their advantages, at last, if one reserve enough physique to as it were confront the invalidism But all this summer I have been & am well enough to be out on the water or down in the fields & woods of the country more than half the time and am quite hefty (as we say here) and sunburnt.

Best regards & love to you, dear friend. Write me first leisure & opportunity. Havn't you a son, lately married4 I have heard about?—Pray tell me something about him—& the respected lady, your wife, whom you mention'd in your last as prostrated with illness—& yourself most of all


1. This is a draft letter, and includes several deletions and additions by Whitman. Two letters to Whitman, one from Richard Maurice Bucke (undated), and one from Benjamin Gurney (August 3, 1878) are on the versos. [back]

2. This letter is apparently lost. Whitman did not keep a draft. [back]

3. See the letter from Whitman to Robert Buchanan of May 16, 1876[back]

4. See the letter from Alfred, Lord Tennyson to Whitman of August 24, 1878[back]


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