In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: What we call literature is

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: 1850s

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00295

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: Based on the inclusion of this item with other early manuscripts in Richard Maurice Bucke's Notes and Fragments (1899), Edward Grier dates it to the 1850s (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 4:1558). The handwriting and the paper also would suggest an early date.

Contributors to digital file: Robert LaCosse, Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Brett Barney

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What we call Literature is but [a?] the blind moist and wobbling cub, new just born and its eyes not open yet in many days.—I am ^You are ana living man, and think; in that alone is a more heightless and fathomless wonder than all the productions of letters and arts in all the years ^nations and periods of this earth.—

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