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Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 6 March 1890


The sun out & fine this afternoon—but we have had a dark cold storm two days—I keep on ab't same as usual—in-doors these times—my MS returned f'm the Nineteenth Century2—Shall find some other market perhaps—(if not, shall print in a little another Annex3—for I contemplate such)—have had my mid-day massage—am sitting here at the table in my den—good oak fire—

Walt Whitman  loc_as.00271_large.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 is addressed: Dr Bucke | Asylum | London | Ontario | Canada. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Mar 6 | 8 PM | 90. [back]
  • 2. See Whitman's February 9, 1890, letter to James Knowles, editor of Nineteenth Century, in which he reminds Knowles that he has sent the poem "Old Age's Echoes" and was still awaiting a reply. See also Knowles's February 21, 1890, letter in response. [back]
  • 3. This "Annex" would become Good-bye My Fancy (1891). [back]
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