In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: Superb and infinitely manifold

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Before or early in 1855

Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00063

Source: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library. Transcribed from digital images of the original. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the manuscripts, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This manuscript's discussion of the vastness of time and space is similar to a passage from the poem that would eventually be titled "Song of Myself." The manuscript includes the phrase "countless octillions of the cubic leagues of space," while a phrase from the version of the poem in the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass reads "a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard the span" (51). Whether or not this manuscript contributed directly to the poem, the similarity suggests that the manuscript was written before or early in 1855. Edward Grier includes two additional sentences in his transcription of this manuscript that are taken from Richard Maurice Bucke's Notes and Fragments (see Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:161). However, those portions of the manuscript have not been found and there is no evidence that they were ever associated with the text presented here.

Contributors to digital file: Kirsten Clawson, Janel Cayer, Kevin McMullen, Nicole Gray, Kenneth M. Price, and Regan Chasek

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Superb and infinitely manifold [t?] as natural the objects are,—not a so cubic solid each foot ^out of the numberless countless octillions of the cubic leagues of space but has its positive [lo?] ho is being crammed full of positive absolute or direct relative wonders,—not any one of these, nor the whole of them together, disturbs or seems awry to the mind of man or woman.—

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