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To one a century hence, or any number of centuries hence

  • Whitman Archive Title: To one a century hence, or any number of centuries hence
  • Whitman Archive ID: uva.00335
  • Repository: Catalog of the Walt Whitman Literary Manuscripts at the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia
  • Folder: 50-51
  • Date: 1857-1859
  • Genre: poetry
  • Physical Description: 1 leaf, 10 x 13 cm pasted to 11.5 x 13 cm, handwritten
  • View Images: 1 | 2
  • Content: On one composite leaf of pink paper formed of two sections (10 x 13 and 11.5 x 13 cm) of the same page cut apart and pasted together in a new order. The poem number was originally 101 and then changed to 102; this number was deleted and the current ?101 added in fine pen. Bowers explains that the poem, in two discrete verse sections and inscribed in black ink (with title), originally occupied one full side of this leaf. When Whitman wanted to expand the first section without having to retranscribe the second one, he simply cut the two sections apart, flipped the first section over (turning it upside-down in the process), pasted the second section to the lower edge of the verso of the first section, and wrote his new first section (beginning "Throwing far, throwing over the head/ of death" and incorporating the original title as verse 3) in the blank space now created above the second section. The new first section is written and revised in light ink. As Bradley and Blodgett observe, the words "thirty-eight years old the/ eighty-first year of The States" indicate that Whitman composed the poem in 1857; these were revised to read "I, forty years old the Eighty-third Year of The States" in the 1860 Leaves , in which this poem constituted section 45 of "Calamus." In 1867 Whitman retitled the poem "Full of Life, Now."

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