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Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 1 February 1881

Yours rec'd​ and very opportunely1—all today has been the dismalest of this grim winter here, furious snow and wind howling, and I have not stirred out—the roads and rivers here all block'd​ with snow and ice—the last week my physical system block'd​ , too, with a chill and depression—right in the middle of the smoothest sailing I have had for years—but I feel that it will be a passing cloud (such indeed as comes to me every two or three months)—

Yes I am quite tickled and favorable to coming there and am about sure I shall come, accepting your good invitation right out—Will write again this week—I have one or two newspaper bits about the Review article which I will send you;2 it has been extracted from considerable—the best thing is a letter from the Review editor, Allen Thorndike Rice, to me about a week after the piece appeared, one of the most eulogistic, solid acceptances of my theories possible3—he paid me $100 for the piece and supplied me with a hundred pamphlet copies of it. I have rec'd​ five or six letters from one and another, none of any acc't​ . I saw Marvin some weeks ago.4 Eldridge is in Boston, in U.S. office. Dr. Bucke is writing his book.5



  • 1. Burroughs's letter is apparently lost. [back]
  • 2. A criticism of "The Poetry of the Future" appeared in The American (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 3. On January 21 Rice wrote to Whitman: "Permit me to thank you on behalf of the readers of the Review for the singularly interesting and valuable article you contribute to the February number. With the cooperation of yourself and other American thinkers of the first note, the Review must become indeed a necessity for every thinking man in America. I hope to able to afford the readers of the Review frequent opportunity of being instructed by you." [back]
  • 4. Marvin had also called on Whitman in November (see the letter from Whitman to Burroughs of November 26, 1880). [back]
  • 5. Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke's biography of Whitman. See the letter from Whitman to Burroughs of February 21, 1880. [back]
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