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Walt Whitman to Edward Dowden, 26 August 1886

My dear Edward Dowden

Herbert Gilchrist has sent me £2 from you, as your annual donation, wh' I rec'd yesterday, & hereby rec't & thank you for. I am still living here, not much different from formerly—in good spirits, & getting along, hearty & fat and red, but clumsy & debilitated more & more.

I think of collecting together my prose & verse of the last five years, & printing a little Vol: under the title of "November Boughs"—also of bringing out a complete budget of all my writing in one book.2 I remember you with much love—

Walt Whitman

write, when at leisure & give me the news over there—also your exact address—

Edward Dowden (1843–1913), professor of English literature at the University of Dublin, was one of the first to critically appreciate Whitman's poetry, particularly abroad, and was primarily responsible for Whitman's popularity among students in Dublin. In July 1871, Dowden penned a glowing review of Whitman's work in the Westminster Review entitled "The Poetry of Democracy: Walt Whitman," in which Dowden described Whitman as "a man unlike any of his predecessors. . . . Bard of America, and Bard of democracy." In 1888, Whitman observed to Traubel: "Dowden is a book-man: but he is also and more particularly a man-man: I guess that is where we connect" (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Sunday, June 10, 1888, 299). For more, see Philip W. Leon, "Dowden, Edward (1843–1913)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Prof: Edw'd Dowden | Temple Road | Winstead Rathmines | Dublin | Ireland. It is postmarked: Camden | Aug | 26 | 12 M | N.J.; Philadelphia, Pa. | Aug | 26 | 1 PM | 1886 | Transit. [back]
  • 2. Apparently one of the first references to Complete Poems and Prose of Walt Whitman, 1855-1888. [back]
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