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Letter to Walt Whitman, July 21, 1855

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Letter to Walt Whitman, July 21, 1855." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 41.
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Emerson writes to Whitman to give him praise for Leaves of Grass and to greet him at the start of a great career. Emerson wishes to visit New York to pay Whitman his respects.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson to WW
Address: Walter Whitman, Esq. | Care of Fowlers & Wells, | 308 Broadway, | New York. Postmark: [indecipherable]
Concord | Massachusetts | 21 July | 1855

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 & wisdom that America has yet contributed. I am very happy in reading it, as great power makes us happy. It meets the demand I am always making of what seemed the sterile & stingy Nature, as if too much handiwork or too much lymph in the temperament were making our western wits fat & mean.
I give you the joy of your free & brave thought. I have great joy in it. I find incomparable things said incomparably well, as they must be. I find the courage of treatment, which so delights us, & which larger perception only can inspire.
I greet you at the beginning of a great career, which you must have had a long foreground somewhere, for such a start. I rubbed my eyes a little to see if this sunbeam were no illustration; but the solid sense of the book is a sober certainty. It has the best merits, namely, of fortifying & encouraging.
I did not know until I, last night, saw the book advertised in a newspaper, that I could trust the name as real & available for a Post-office. I wish to see my benefactor, & have felt much like striking my tasks, & visiting New York to pay you my respects.
R. W. Emerson.
Mr Walter Whitman.

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Whitman, Walt [pages:41]

The letter is written from R. W. Emerson to Walt Whitman.