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

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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