fabfab on Dec 18th 2009


IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/images/ww0017as.jpg

Here is a picture of the letter that Emerson sent Whitman at 99 Ryerson street, about his thoughts on Leaves Of Grass on July 21 1855.

Emerson writes:

Dear sir,

I am not blind to the worth of the wonderful gift of “Leaves Of Grass “. I find it the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that American has yet contributed …. I find incomparable things said incomparably well, as they must be…. I rubbed my eyes a little, to see if this sunbeam were no illusion; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty…. I wish to see my benefactor and have felt much like striking my task and visiting New York to pay my respects.

Ralph Emerson was a poet, an essayist and a philosopher, he was well recognized and well respected. Walt Whitman had sent Emerson a copy of Leaves Of Grass. Emerson did not know Whitman but took the time to read it, he soon sent the letter to Whitman to 99 Ryerson street. Whitman used the letter to publicize the book. Exploiting the letter, Whitman told everyone what Emerson  had written to him. Emerson later backed away from what he wrote in the letter, its not clear why.

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