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Walt Whitman Ernesy Rhys, 11 September 1887

My dear Rhys

I suppose you got the copy I mail'd you some three or four days ago3—the additional matter (27 printed pages) for "Democratic Vistas"—I enclose herewith the MS of a little Preface. The title page ought to be

Democratic Vistas and other Pieces By Walt Whitman

Leave out "Two Letters" (p 315 and partly on p 316)—Leave out altogether the Appendix pieces (pp 339 to 374 inclusive)—And I should suggest to have "Notes left over" (pp 317 to 338) come last in the volume, & finishing it. Finally I give you the same privilege over the putting together of this, as my other volumes. (Is there any probability of a second edition of "Spec: Days"? Is it stereotyped?)

To the Publisher—For this Volume, the Preface, &c. I shall expect £10:10s (same as my other vols) and also 10 copies of the "Vistas" bound in roan. I wish the am't of the bill for the 50 copies "Spec:Days" (sent me three months ago,) deducted from the £10:10s and when you send the balance, send in P.O. order.

Respects & good will to all

Walt Whitman

Ernest Percival Rhys (1859–1946) was a British author and editor; he founded the Everyman's Library series of inexpensive reprintings of popular works. He included a volume of Whitman's poems in the Canterbury Poets series and two volumes of Whitman's prose in the Camelot series for Walter Scott publishers. For more information about Rhys, see Joel Myerson, "Rhys, Ernest Percival (1859–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Ernest Rhys | Care Walter Scott, Publisher | 24 Warwick Lane Paternoster | row | London | England. It is postmarked: Camden, N.J. | Sep 11 | 5 PM | 87; London E C | (?) | Sp 23 87 | (?). [back]
  • 2. This letter illustrates Walt Whitman's careful, almost obsessive, supervision of every detail of publication. Although he granted Rhys authority to make adjustments as needs arose, in actuality he restricted Rhys's freedom. [back]
  • 3. Whitman is referring to his letter to Ernest Rhys of September 8, 1887. [back]
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