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Walt Whitman to H. Buxton Forman, 26 March 1872

My dear Mr. Forman,

Your letter & the fine poem of "the Great Peace-Maker" have been rec'd​ by me, & read with pleasure.1 With regard to re-printing my book in full in England2 I can only say that of course it would be gratifying to me—But I should like to be informed in advance of any thing pending that way, as I should like to make one or two suggestions before the book is begun. A preface or introduction mainly of statistical nature (about the book & myself) including a brief syllabus of the plan & idea of "Leaves of Grass" from its own point of view—would be judicious—but I don't think favorably of a literary criticism for preface—

I have an Edition (the sixth)3 just out—edition 1872—in some respects probably the best—Sampson Low, and Trübner have copies of it.—It looks just now as though some form of international copyright might be legalized here—If so, this might be worth considering in reference to the reprint of my book in England.4

If you can get a look at the Danish (Copenhagen) Monthly Magazine "For Ide og Virkeliged," "For Idea & Reality," either of Feb.​ or March, I am not certain which, I understand it has a criticism on my book, from a believer.5 I am here on a visit, & return to Washington in a few days.6 I shall always be happy to hear from you. My address is Solicitor's Office, Treasury, Washington, D. C.—U.S.A.

Walt Whitman


  • 1. On February 21, 1872, H. Buxton Forman (1842–1917), later the biographer of Shelley and Keats, sent to Whitman a copy of R. H. Horne's The Great Peace-Maker; A Sub-marine Dialogue (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Low, & Searle, 1872). This poetic account of the laying of the Atlantic cable has a foreword written by Forman. [back]
  • 2. Forman proposed an English edition of Whitman's writings "verbatim, without any retrenchments," a project of which the poet thoroughly approved (see Forman's letter to Whitman of February 21, 1872). [back]
  • 3. The 1872 edition is the fifth, not the sixth, edition. [back]
  • 4. At the conclusion of the second paragraph of this letter is pasted a clipping from the New-York Tribune of March 26 in reference to the plans of Senator John Sherman for a new copyright law. [back]
  • 5. Rudolf Schmidt's laudatory essay appeared in the March issue of For Ide og Virkelighed; see Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:175n. [back]
  • 6. Whitman was in Brooklyn at his mother's home from early February until about the tenth of April; see The Correspondence, 2:165–173. [back]
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