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Walt Whitman to Horace Traubel, [22 April 1891]

 loc_vm.00632.jpg see notes | April 22 '91

Horace tell Mr Myrick1 if we add further to the 66 pp: I sh'd add 12 pp: (or more) as an Appendix—the main part2 solid brevier, with interspersed quotation bits (? nonpareil)—has he good brevier?—I haven't quite decided on this Appendix, but please ask ab't the good brevier—& if has has such3

W W  loc_vm.00633.jpg

Horace L. Traubel (1858–1919) was an American essayist, poet, and magazine publisher. He is best remembered as the literary executor, biographer, and self-fashioned "spirit child" of Walt Whitman. During the late 1880s and until Whitman's death in 1892, Traubel visited the poet virtually every day and took thorough notes of their conversations, which he later transcribed and published in three large volumes entitled With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906, 1908, & 1914). After his death, Traubel left behind enough manuscripts for six more volumes of the series, the final two of which were published in 1996. For more on Traubel, see Ed Folsom, "Traubel, Horace L. [1858–1919]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. Charles Myrick was the foreman in the Ferguson Brothers printing plant, which printed both November Boughs and the 1889 edition of Leaves of Grass. [back]
  • 2. At the time Whitman wrote this note, he was preparing to publish Good-Bye My Fancy (1891); the book was Whitman's last miscellany, and it included both poetry and short prose works commenting on poetry, aging, and death, among other topics. Here, Whitman considers including in an appendix Gabriel Sarrazin's essay "Poetes modernes de l'Amerique, Walt Whitman," which appeared in La Nouvelle Revue, 52 (May 1, 1888), 164–184. [back]
  • 3. Whitman referred to his printing instructions as a "memorandum" (see Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, April 22, 1891). In Whitman's July 1888 letter to Myrick, he asked the printer to modify the placement of poems in relation to a note. The note reads, in its entirety, "The two songs on this page are eked out during an afternoon, June, 1888, in my seventieth year, at a critical spell of illness. Of course no reader and probably no human being at any time will ever have such phases of emotional and solemn action as these involve to me. I feel in them an end and close of all" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Tuesday, June 19, 1888). [back]
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