In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: I say that Democracy

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1850 and 1856

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05314

Source: The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842–1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 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: The writing at the top of this manuscript bears some resemblance to this sentence from the preface to the first edition of Leaves of Grass: "Great genius and the people of these states must never be demeaned to romances" (1855, p. ix). The language and topic also resemble those of Whitman's self-authored review of the 1855 Leaves of Grass, "Walt Whitman and His Poems," which was published in The United States Review in September, 1855. It was also one of several reviews printed separately and included in some copies of the 1855 edition. Edward Grier, in Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts, notes that "the small writing suggests a date in the 1850s" (New York: New York University Press, 1984), 1:361.

Contributors to digital file: Caitlin Henry and Brett Barney

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I say that Democracy offers
higher and more athletic
ideals, Persons.—Let all They yet
Who of all these
swarms in the East & West, of writers and speakers
courageously steps up to
own the ^celebrate the savage and free genius of These
States?—I know not one.—

Days, years, pass, pass away?pass byon

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