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Walt Whitman to the Editors, the Overland Monthly, 4 April 1870

Editors Overland Monthly:2

Would the accompanying piece, "Passage to India," be available to you, to be printed as leading article in either the June or July number of the "Overland"? The price is $200, and I should like 20 copies of the number—I reserve the right to print it in future book. My address is at this office.

Very respectfully,


  • 1. This draft letter is endorsed, "Overland | Monthly | sent April 4 '70." [back]
  • 2. On April 13, 1870, Bret Harte replied for the Overland Monthly: "I fear that the 'Passage to India' is a poem too long and too abstract for the hasty and material-minded readers of the O. M.." Though Whitman liked "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [1906–1996], 4:208), he felt that "somehow when [Harte] went to London the best American in him was left behind and lost" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden [1906–1996], 1:28). In a newspaper interview in 1879, Whitman objected to Harte's "ruffians and delirium tremens specimens.…I think it is an outrage. He seems to me to have taken Dickens' treatment of the slums of London and transferred it to California." See Robert Hubach, "Three Uncollected St. Louis Interviews of Walt Whitman," American Literature, 14.2 (May 1942), 146. [back]
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