Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 23–25 December [1878]

Date: December 23–25, 1878

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00391

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. 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.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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Dec 23

Dear John Burroughs

Yours rec'd last week—Nothing new with me—I still keep well—The lecture1 is a fixed fact (to come)—but I shall wait till I get good & ready—I suppose as I am writing this you & 'Sula are now home—I 'most envy you—Very cold here to day, but bright—& I am just going out for a couple of hours

25th Christmas afternoon—Went out—also yesterday—but not long or far, as we are having a sharp spell of cold & gusty winds here these days—Rec'd a letter from Herbert Gilchrist this morning—they are at 315 West 19 Street, N. Y. now, in their own apartments, & I believe expect to be for the winter—Call on them, & 'Sula call too, when down—

—Write me more fully about your proposed book of next spring—(it is in the gestation of a book—the melting of the fluid metal, before the casting—that it receives that something to make its idiosyncrasy, identity—its "excuse for being" if it is to have any—)2

I have written to Jenny Gilder & sent her a small budget of printed slips &c. (I would like best to be told about in strings of continuous anecdotes, incidents, mots, thumbnail personal sketches, characteristic & true—such for instance as are in the 2d edition of your old Wash'n Notes)3

Yours of 17th Dec. rec'd—Tennyson's & the criticism safely rec'd back—I suppose you rec'd the hat photo. you spoke of—(I sent it to you Oct 1st)—I mail'd you also a pair of buck gloves—& Smith a pair too—four days since4—I shall send this to Delaware County, as you say you are going home for a few days—Write me if you get it all right


Happy New Year to you & all


1. The lecture on Lincoln which had been postponed earlier in the year because of Whitman's health. [back]

2. Burroughs published Locusts and Wild Honey in 1879. [back]

3. See the letter from Whitman to Burroughs of December 12, 1878. [back]

4. See the letter from Whitman to George W. Childs of December 12, 1878[back]


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