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Walt Whitman to the Editors of The Critic, 1 June 1885

 loc.01414.001_large.jpg Walt Whitman to the Editors of The Critic (s. issue May 30, 1885) My friends

I wish to deeply & gratefully thank the author of "Victor Hugo" in Critic of May 30, for the spirit & words of the allusions to me1—& thank you also—Oblige me by sending this note to the writer of the V H article—

Walt Whitman  loc.01414.002_large.jpg

The editor of the Critic at this time was Jeannette Gilder (1849–1916), who wrote that "one of the things of which I am most proud is that the Critic was the first publication of its class to invite Walt Whitman to contribute to its pages" (see Charles N. Elliot, Walt Whitman as Man, Poet, and Friend [1915], 97); she was assisted in her editorial tasks by her brother Joseph. For more information, see Susan L. Roberson, "Gilder, Jeannette L. (1849–1916)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. The anonymous lead article of The Critic stated that "Walt Whitman has many characteristics of Hugo. Like him Whitman began with very simple rhymes in ordinary metres and in later life broke through all the rules. About 1850 Hugo seems to have learned in the school of adversity the beauty of democratic principles which came to Whitman naturally through his birth and education." Whitman had always liked being compared to Hugo and even urged William Sloane Kennedy to include a comparison to the French writer in his essay on Whitman. On the latter, see Whitman's letter to Kennedy of May 24, 1885. [back]
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