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Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, 2 October 1885

 loc_es.00018.jpg Boyle O'Reilly Stephan—Ruskin [illegible] Rhys Sam Longfellow Curtis Dear Walt

I have your card of last Wednesday1 I feel greatly concerned at your condition and wish more than ever that you had got up here last spring—we had such a cool summer here that unquestionably you would have been better here than in Camden. I am very anxious to see you and will do so as soon as I can get away from here—I think I told you I had four months holidays beginning 15th of the present month. Shortly after the 15th I hope to see you and then we shall see what can be done. Meantime please write to me as often as you can telling me how you keep.

Affectionately yours R M Bucke  loc_es.00017.jpg

Richard Maurice Bucke (1837–1902) was a Canadian physician and psychiatrist who grew close to Whitman after reading Leaves of Grass in 1867 (and later memorizing it) and meeting the poet in Camden a decade later. Even before meeting Whitman, Bucke claimed in 1872 that a reading of Leaves of Grass led him to experience "cosmic consciousness" and an overwhelming sense of epiphany. Bucke became the poet's first biographer with Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), and he later served as one of his medical advisors and literary executors. For more on the relationship of Bucke and Whitman, see Howard Nelson, "Bucke, Richard Maurice," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter has not been located. [back]
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