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Walt Whitman to Joseph B. Gilder, 18 March [1887]


Yes—I have rec'd such a letter from T1—& do not object to your itemizing it—though it must be done carefully—Some such way as the following?

—Walt Whitman

Tennyson has written an affectionate and thankful letter to Walt Whitman on the comments of the latter—see Critic of Jan. 1st upon the supplementary 'Locksley Hall.' Is not this the only instance known of the English Laureate formally 'noticing a notice'?2


Joseph Benson Gilder (1858–1936) was, with his siblings Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909) and Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849–1916), editor of Scribner's Monthly and the Critic.


  • 1. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) succeeded William Wordsworth as poet laureate of Great Britain in 1850. The intense male friendship described in In Memoriam, which Tennyson wrote after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, possibly influenced Whitman's poetry. Whitman wrote to Tennyson in 1871 or late 1870, probably shortly after the visit of Cyril Flower in December, 1870, but the letter is not extant (see Thomas Donaldson, Walt Whitman the Man [New York: F. P. Harper, 1896], 223). Tennyson's first letter to Whitman is dated July 12, 1871. Although Tennyson extended an invitation for Whitman to visit England, Whitman never acted on the offer. [back]
  • 2. Whitman's letter is written on the verso of a letter from Gilder of March 17, 1887, in which Gilder requested permission to mention the Tennyson letter of January 15, 1887. On March 26, under "Notes," The Critic printed Whitman's suggested paragraph almost verbatim. [back]
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