In Whitman's Hand


About this Item

Title: The only way in which

Creator: Walt Whitman

Date: Between 1845 and 1860

Whitman Archive ID: rut.00023

Source: Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 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: Edward Grier suggests that this manuscript was probably written prior to 1860, noting some similarities in language and sentiment between it and the initial line of No. 4 of the "Thoughts" cluster published first in the 1860–1861 edition of Leaves of Grass (Notebooks and Unpublished Prose Manuscripts [New York: New York University Press, 1984], 1:118). The erased final line of the manuscript is also similar to language that appears in the preface to the 1855 Leaves of Grass. The manuscript is held at Rutgers University Library along with several similar manuscripts that are numbered sequentially and probably date from around or before 1855: see "American literature must become distinct," "dithyrambic trochee," "The money value of real," and "ground where you may rest."

Notes written on manuscript: On leaf 1 recto, in unknown hand: "6"

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

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The only way in which any thing can really be owned, is by the infusion or inspiration of it in the soul.—The ignorant ^Can I dully suppose that they may I may attain to certain possessions,—as houses or stocks or lands or goods; and that such property will be theirs, when they I have paid ^the money and got taken the receipts and warranty deeds,—then such property will be theirs ^mine to enter upon and enjoy.—Yes, may-be as those people stone blind from their birth, enter enjoy the exhibitions of pictures and sculpture.—

But the true owner of the [library?]

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