In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Lafontaine, born about 1621

Creators: Walt Whitman, Charles Knight, Unknown

Date: 1853 or later

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00176

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original item.Charles Knight's editorial gloss on Buffon introduces Buffon's "The First Man." For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the marginalia and annotations, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Clipping is from Charles Knight's editorial introduction to Buffon's "The First Man," in Half-Hours with the Best Authors (New York: Wiley, 1853), 1:155. There is writing on the verso that does not appear to be in Whitman's hand.

Contributors to digital file: Lauren Grewe, Nicole Gray, Ty Alyea, and Matt Cohen


Paste-on | Whitman's Notes on Paste-on | Whitman's Highlighting on Paste-on | Erasure | Overwrite

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Lafontaine, born about 1621 lived 73 years —(1694)

was of good family, inherited some property,—wrote fables in verse— somewhat like Æsop's—also wrote poems & plays—lived 20 years supported by a noble lady in her house—was intimate with (?Racine, Boileau, Bossuet, Moliere).—

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[THE Comte de Buffon, the most eloquent if not the most accurate of naturalists, was born in 1707, and died in 1788. More than two-thirds of his fourscore years were passed in unremitting literary labor. He was rich, luxurious, fond of display,—yet he went to bed every night at nine o'clock, and began his appointed task every morning at six. In his latter years, when asked how he could have done so much, he replied, "Have I not spent fifty years at my desk?" The passage which we translate from his chapter on "Man," will give a notion of the fertility of his imagination, under the guidance of science.]


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