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Walt Whitman to Richard Maurice Bucke, 22 April 1890


Still holding the fort but sort o' wretched feeling enough yet—(the comet-tail of the grip I guess)—Am sitting up here in chair—delightful weather to-day warm—many visitors (to whom most of denials)—Compliments & offers—this grip is the most unkindest cut of all—

God bless you all— Walt Whitman  loc_zs.00183.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. | Apr 22 | 1 30 PM | 90; London | PM | Ap 23 | (?) | Canada. [back]
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