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1. Whitman used this very public document to conclude the 1856 Leaves of Grass. He also used the famous sentence from Emerson's 1855 letter on the book's spine (“I greet you at the beginning of a great career, which yet must have had a long foreground somewhere, for such a start”), but without Emerson's permission. Neither Emerson nor his friends were pleased by this appropriation. [BACK]

2. On Whitman as lecturer, see C. Carroll Hollis, Language and Style in “Leaves of Grass” (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983). And on the importance of Whitman's “presence,” which Hollis also stresses, see Tenney Nathanson, Whitman's Presence: Body, Voice, and Writing in “Leaves of Grass” (New York: New York University Press, 1992). Nathanson suggests, and I concur, that “at its best [Whitman's] work does bear on us with an immediacy not ordinarily associated with poetry: the figure who is said to rise up and appear to us in the poet's direct addresses to his audience seems to overflow the boundaries of the very work that conveys him to us, to shuck off his status as a fictive character existing in a literary representation and impinge on us personally and directly” (p. 2). [BACK]

3. Timothy Morris also suggests that Whitman's poetry has succeeded in part because the poet-hero can seem so fully present in his work. See Becoming Canonical in American Poetry (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995), in which he suggests that “the belief that a work of art conveys the living presence of the artist, and the implied value that a work is better as the artist is more present in it” (p. xi), emerged as one of the central tenets of the American Renaissance. Morris analyzes the critical mandates for an authentically American

literature that preceded the 1855 Leaves of Grass, as well as the canon-making metanarratives that determined the course of American Studies in the twentieth century. He finds that “the poetics of presence, by valuing those texts that most directly and immediately present the writer as a living voice, came to be a guarantee of the nationalism of canonical texts: an American writer sufficiently present in a work would automatically deliver the greatest amount of Americanism in that work” (p. xi). Writing against the canon, Morris suggests that Americanism was associated with the privilege of the white, Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual male voice, and with (now incredible) principles of originality (p. 9). [BACK]

4. Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991), pp. 202–3. [BACK]

5. See David S. Reynolds, Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1988). See also his Walt Whitman's America: A Cultural Biography (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), chapters 4, 6, and passim. [BACK]

6. There are many discussions of childhood that have been helpful to me in thinking about Whitman and his family. Especially useful were the following. John Bowlby, Attachment and Loss. Volume 2: Separation, Anxiety, and Anger (New York: Basic Books, 1973), p. 235, quoted in Cindy Hazan and Phillip R. Shaver, “Romantic Love Conceptualized as an Attachment Process,” Journal of Psychology and Social Personality 52, no. 3 (March 1987): 512. Hazan and Shaver provide a succinct overview of attachment theory, as well as an empirical study supporting some of their claims about the continuity of an individual's attachment patterns over the life cycle. See also Bowlby, A Secure Base: Parent-Child Attachment and Healthy Human Development (New York: Basic Books, 1988), for a fuller working out of the conceptual framework of attachment theory, which is based on three personality types: secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant. Whitman exhibits characteristics of all three of them. [BACK]

7. On the newly emerging languages of the Jacksonian era, see Marvin Meyers, The Jacksonian Persuasion: Politics and Belief (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960). [BACK]

8. Anderson, Imagined Communities, p. 203. [BACK]

9. For a stimulating and different reading of this dynamic among men, see Donald E. Pease, “Walt Whitman and the Vox Populi of the American Masses,” in Visionary Compacts: American Renaissance Writings in Cultural Context (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987), pp. 155–56. Pease suggests that “the power in this scenario derives from the unusual work to which Whitman puts this young woman's loneliness and longing. For she does not indulge in regret for what she cannot have. Her longing does not, as it would in Hawthorne or Poe, intensify our sense of her separateness. Instead the intensity of her longing fills in the distance between these young men. She fills the spaces separating the men with the fullness of her longing for all of them equally. As her eyes touch and caress the men, her vision claims an intimacy with the bathers greater than the intimacy with each other disclosed by their nakedness.” Pease concludes that “‘unseen’ relations, the intimate compact the men did not know they shared, becomes visible only through her sight.” [BACK]

10. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality. Volume 1: An Introduction

(New York: Random House, 1978), pp. 4–5. For an interesting analysis of common misreadings of Foucault's repressive hypothesis, in which The History of Sexuality is understood as “the charter for so much current writing about homosexuality,” see Linda Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian England (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), pp. xi-xiii. [BACK]

11. Louise Pound, “Whitman and the French Language,” American Speech 1 (May 1926): 421–30; F. O. Matthiessen, American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1941), pp. 528–31; Roger Asselineau, The Evolution of Walt Whitman: The Creation of a Book (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), pp. 225–38; Betsy Erkkila, Walt Whitman Among the French: Poet and Myth (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), pp. 10–11, 105, 231. See also Erkkila, “Walt Whitman: The Politics of Language,”American Studies 29 (spring 1984): 21–34. [BACK]

12. In Majestic Indolence: English Romantic Poetry and the Work of Art (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), Willard Spiegelman offers a brilliant, extended reading of this passage, in which he points out that “watching and wondering at it” is not an exact parallel for “Both in and out of the game.” Participant and spectator, the speaker participates most continuously by watching. Spiegelman rewrites the passage to read, “‘Although I play the game by coming into and going out of it alternately, I also simply stand in the audience as a perpetual spectator.’” He concludes that “from such passages we may hope for a final balance, but they disorient us, never permitting us certain knowledge of where or when Whitman may reenter the lists from the sidelines” (pp. 147–48). [BACK]

13. For Crane's quotation of “Passage to India,” see the “Cape Hatteras” section of The Bridge, in The Poems of Hart Crane, ed. Marc Simon (New York: Liveright, 1986), pp. 75–84. [BACK]

14. For “Home Burial,” see The Poetry of Robert Frost: The Collected Poems, Complete and Unabridged, ed. Edwin Connery Lathem (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975), pp. 51–55. On Frost as the inheritor of Whitman's need for loafing, see Spiegelman, “Our American Cousins,” in Majestic Indolence, p. 150. [BACK]

15. For other uses of these words, see Harold Edwin Eby, A Concordance of Walt Whitman's “Leaves of Grass” and Selected Prose Writings (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1949). The word “mullen,” whose spelling Whitman changed after 1871, appears only one other time, in the posthumously published poem “Supplement Hours” (1897). “Sullen,” on the other hand, appears with comparative frequency, as in the Calamus line “Sullen and suffering hours! (I am ashamed—but it is useless—I am what I am)” (LG 1860, p. 355). Whitman subsequently deleted the entire poem. Contrary to what we might expect, however, the incidence of words used only once in Whitman's poetry is high. See Asselineau, Evolution of Walt Whitman, p. 231.

Eby's precomputer concordance does not attempt to index Specimen Days, and so misses Whitman's charming vignette on “Mulleins and Mulleins” (SD 805). Here the much maligned mullein figures as an emblem of peace. “Every object has its lesson,” the poet writes, “enclosing the suggestion of everything else—and lately I sometimes think all is concentrated for me in these hardy, yellow-flower'd weeds.” [BACK]


16. Webster's New International Dictionary, 3d ed., s.v. “worm fence.” [BACK]

17. See Paul Zweig, Walt Whitman: The Making of the Poet (New York: Basic Books, 1984), especially chapter 1, in which he describes Walter Whitman Senior as the muse of the new language of Leaves of Grass (p. 39). [BACK]

18. On the tragic element in Whitman's erotic nature, see Edward Carpenter, Days with Walt Whitman: With Some Notes on his Life and Work (London: G. Allen, 1906), p. 47. He describes the poet as self-confident and outgoing, but also as moody, fixed, silent, unquestionable. [BACK]

19. Christopher Bollas, The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987), p. 4. See also chapter 5, “The Trisexual,” pp. 82–96, in which Bollas moves beyond Freud's account of “an innate bisexual disposition in man” to posit a third position, occupied by “a person who ‘seduces’ members of each sex in order to gain the other's desire of his self. The object of desire is the person's own self, but a self hypercathected as part of an erotic family triangle” (82). As a narcissist, Whitman has something in common with this figure, who gratifies others without being able to gratify himself. [BACK]

20. Jorie Graham, “The Geese,” in The Dream of the Unified Field: Selected Poems 1974–1994 (Hopewell, N.J.: Ecco Press, 1995), p. 12. [BACK]

21. For Dickinson's correspondence with Susan Gilbert Dickinson, see The Poems of Emily Dickinson, ed. Thomas H. Johnson, 3 vols. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1955), 1: 151–55. The poem in question was “Safe in their Alabaster Chambers.” [BACK]

22. Helen Price recalled that Whitman read the manuscript aloud in “1858, I think.” See her account in Richard Maurice Bucke, Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), p. 29. She stresses his diffidence. On Abby Price and her circle, see Sherry Ceniza, “Abby Hills Price,” in Walt Whitman and 19th-Century Women Reformers (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1998), pp. 45–95. George B. Arnold was the father of the “Bohemian” poet George Arnold and a former president of the Raritan Bay Union (1853–56), a reform community with which the Prices were also associated. [BACK]

23. Helen E. Price, “Reminiscences of Walt Whitman,” New York Evening Post, May 31, 1919, p. 2. [BACK]

24. Whitman, quoted by Helen Price in Bucke, Walt Whitman, p. 29. [BACK]

25. Emerson lectured on “Manners” at the New York Christian Union on Friday, March 23, 1860, and this is presumably the place Vaughan refers to as “Fr. Chapins church.” For Vaughan's letters to Whitman, see Calamus Lovers: Walt Whitman's Working Class Camerados, ed. Charley Shively (San Francisco: Gay Sunshine, 1987), pp. 41–50. The passages I quote are on p. 43. During the two months that Whitman was in Boston in 1860, Vaughan wrote seven extant letters to him, but Whitman's letters from what Vaughan calls “the City of Notions” have not been found. [BACK]

26. Father Chapin is the Universalist minister Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814–80), who spoke at a Crystal Palace dinner organized by the New York Publishers' Association in September 1855. He was the author of popular advice books such as True Manliness (1854) and, according to Ezra Greenspan, his speech praised the power of the printing press in an age of “steam and electricity.”

See Walt Whitman and the American Reader (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), p. 6. See also UPP 1:252. [BACK]

27. Vaughan, letter of November 16, 1874, quoted in Calamus Lovers, pp. 49–50. [BACK]

28. See Vaughan's references to “the Press” and to the “Brooklyn Daily Times” in his letter of November 16, 1874. The context suggests that “the Press” was one of his jobs. [BACK]

29. The “now praying now cursing” quote is from Vaughan's letter of November 16, 1874, in Calamus Lovers, p. 50. His career was unsuccessful, his marriage unhappy, his alcoholism difficult to control. Fred felt that he was untrue to his wife and children, apparently because of his desire for other men, and that his intimate relationship with Walt, however it ended, was the one great success of his life. [BACK]

30. Emily Dickinson, Poems, 1: 199–200. [BACK]

31. D. H. Lawrence has perhaps written most memorably on the death cult in Whitman. See Studies in Classic American Literature (1923; reprint, New York: Viking, 1964), pp. 163–77. For a provocative contemporary reading, see David Lawrence Karp, “Death at the Birth of ‘Leaves of Grass’: Domestic and Morbid Imaginings in Walt Whitman's Writings, 1839–1856” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 1991). Karp describes the sentimental tradition of comparative bodiliness from which, he argues, Whitman could not wholly escape. [BACK]

32. In this much revised poem, which also concludes all future editions, the persona departs “as one disembodied, triumphant, dead.” The neologism “Camerado” was not introduced until 1867. [BACK]

33. Greenspan, Whitman and the American Reader, pp. 109–10. He further notes that “Whitman's need for ‘contact’ with his readers … was an obsession” and that “at times, in fact, the early poems seem addressed less to impersonal readers outside the reaches of the poem than to unidentified friends and lovers located within the imaginary plane of the poem.” [BACK]

34. For a discussion of homophobia and phobias about equality in Whitman's time, see Christopher Newfield, “Democracy and Male Homoeroticism,” Yale Journal of Criticism 6, no. 2 (fall 1993): 29–62. [BACK]

35. Here I borrow from Alicia Ostriker, “Desire Gratified and Ungratified: William Blake and Sexuality,” in Critical Essays on William Blake, ed. Hazard Adams (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1991), p. 107. She writes that “if ‘Unity is the cloke of Folly’ in a work of art, we might make it our business as critics not only to discover, but also to admire, a large poet's large inconsistencies—particularly in an area like the meaning of sex, where the entire culture, and probably each of us, in the shadows of our chambers, feels profound ambivalence.” [BACK]

36. See M. Wynn Thomas, The Lunar Light of Whitman's Poetry (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987), pp. 13, 14. Thomas's extended reading of this poem is one of the finest I have encountered, though he presents Whitman as a more psychologically transcendent figure than I do. He argues that if the effect of Whitman's language is to violate the reader's privacy, this effect is perhaps intentional, “since in such privacy Whitman finds evidence of the disengagement of vital emotions from the activities of a public life that must therefore become increasingly bankrupt of serious human content” (pp. 14–15).


Here Thomas intends to have it both ways. The poem appeals to the authenticity of private life and seeks to abolish such life. His passionate and witty commentary is premised on the observation that “there is, on the face of it, something faintly ludicrous and even offensive about the way Whitman thrusts his unwanted attention upon these intimate situations. Two's company, three's a crowd, and he seems always to be insisting on being just that one person too many, whose presence is bound to alter the color and tone of the occasion” (p. 14). For an analysis of the poem as “kinky,” an example of “cultivated perversity” in making sex public—“pubic hairs on the ink rollers and so on”—see Michael Warner, “Whitman Drunk,” in Breaking Bounds: Whitman and American Cultural Studies, ed. Betsy Erkkila and Jay Grossman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 42. [BACK]

37. For a further discussion of interdependent public and private languages of love in Leaves of Grass, see Betsy Erkkila, “Whitman and the Homosexual Republic,” in Walt Whitman: The Centennial Essays, ed. Ed Folsom (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1994), pp. 153–71. She argues that “the languages of sexuality and spirituality, same-sex love and love between men and women, private and public, intersect and flow into each other in Whitman's work” (p. 158). And for an insightful discussion of “The Politics of Labor and the Poet's Work: A Reading of ‘A Song for Occupations,’” see Alan Trachtenberg, in Walt Whitman: The Centennial Essays, pp. 120–52. Trachtenberg sees “a vicious circularity” at work in the poem, since for Whitman “politics itself often seems a literary rather than a political activity” (p. 123). Although Trachtenberg's terms and mine are far from identical, we share some of the same concerns about Whitman and “closeness” and “the necessity of artifice for the sake of the common life” (p. 127). [BACK]

38. Nathanson adds, “It is particularly useful to do so in a critical climate inclined to privilege the sort of public concerns that can be adduced in support of the claim that the poet's body figures the body politic. That body also staves off fears and satisfies desires of a more intimate order.” See Whitman's Presence, p. 494. [BACK]

39. An American Primer by Walt Whitman: With Facsimiles of the Original Manuscripts, ed. Horace L. Traubel (1904; reprint, with an afterword by Gay Wilson Allen, Stevens Point, Wisc.: Holy Cow! Press, 1987), p. 15. Subsequent quotations are included in parentheses in the text. The Primer is a collection of notes that remained unpublished in Whitman's lifetime. His original title was “The Primer of Words,” and he told Traubel that these one hundred and ten separate notes were first intended for a lecture he was planning to deliver in the mid-1850s. The excerpted quote was probably written in 1856 or later. For another presentation of the text, see DBN 3:728–54. On the Primer as a program for expanding the lexicon, see Ed Folsom, Walt Whitman's Native Representations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 20–21. [BACK]

40. Justin Kaplan describes Jeff as “for years the chief support of [Whitman's] homoerotic fantasy of ‘two boys together clinging.’” See Walt Whitman: A Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980), p. 236. [BACK]

41. In one of his notebooks, the poet suggested that masturbation and inordinate

“going with women” rot the voice, but that “no man can have a great vocalism … who has no experience of love.” He then crossed out the word “love” and wrote “woman” (DBN 3:737). The next entry associates the great Italian singers with “Mannahatta young men, especially the drivers of horses, and all whose work leads to free loud calling and commanding.” Fred Vaughan was such a driver and it seems likely that Whitman had more emotional space in his life because Jeff Whitman was less available as an “ardent” and approving companion. Jeff played the guitar and sang pleasantly, and Walt bought him a piano in 1852. See the male-homoerotic reverie in DBN 3:765, composed while Jeff was playing the piano. [BACK]

42. Mattie turned twenty-one in September 1857 and was engaged to Jeff before then. See the account of her lost inheritance in Dear Brother Walt: The Letters of Thomas Jefferson Whitman, ed. Dennis Berthold and Kenneth Price (Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1984), pp. xviii-xix n. 14. Her father was dead and her stepmother, who was her guardian, absconded with the funds after Mattie announced that she planned to marry Jeff when she came of age. [BACK]

43. Justin Kaplan suggests that “Walt loved Mattie as if she were a sister—she and Louisa Whitman were ‘the two best and sweetest women I have ever seen or known or ever expect to see.’ Still, his cherished and exclusive relationship with Jeff had been fractured along with his understanding of ‘adhesiveness,’ now divested of its sanctions in brotherly love.” See Walt Whitman, p. 236. [BACK]

44. Trachtenberg notes in “The Politics of Labor,” p. 128, that this line echoes Emerson's “wise man in ‘Politics,’ who needs ‘no money, for he is value.’” [BACK]

45. The Eighteenth Presidency! in Walt Whitman: Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, ed. Justin Kaplan (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1982), pp. 1323–24. In Whitman the Political Poet, Erkkila notes that “although Whitman was closest in his views to Fremont's Free-Soil platform, in The Eighteenth Presidency! he refuses to identify with any particular political party” (p. 130). For further discussion of Whitman's contradictory attitudes toward slavery in The Eighteenth Presidency! see my chapter 7. [BACK]

46. Mark Maslan has directed our attention to analogies between Whitman's hand and his handwriting. See “Whitman's ‘Strange Hand’: Body as Text in Drum-Taps,ELH 58, no. 4 (winter 1991): 935–55. [BACK]

47. The reviewer was objecting to the “female form” passage in “I Sing the Body Electric,” which includes the description of orgasm as “Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous. … quivering jelly of love. … white-blow and delirious juice” (LG 1855, p. 119). [BACK]

48. Evidently Whitman is also suggesting that, with his rude American tongue, he deliberately ignores the models of the past. On nation-building as dependent on such fierce forgettings, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, passim. Anderson's phrase “the amnesias of nationalism” (p. xv) is especially felicitous. [BACK]

49. Letter of September 11, 1865. Except as otherwise indicated, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman's unpublished letters are paraphrased or quoted from the Trent Collection, William R. Perkins Library, Duke University. [BACK]

50. The editorial is dated June 22, 1859, and is reprinted in I Sit and Look Out: Editorials from the Brooklyn Daily Times by Walt Whitman, ed. Emory

Holloway and Vernolian Schwarz (New York: Columbia University Press, 1932), 120–22. On the chronology of Calamus, see the next chapter. Evidently the answer to the question “Can All Marry?” is an emphatic no, though the reasons Whitman advances are not appealing. He contends that some women are too ugly to marry, while granting that plenty of “hard-featured visages lighted up by no redeeming ray of intellect … preside at ‘good men's feasts.’” [BACK]

51. Hannah's obituary is included in Katherine Molinoff, Some Notes on Whitman's Family: Mary Elizabeth Whitman, Edward Whitman, Andrew and Jesse Whitman, Hannah Louisa Whitman (New York: Comet Press, 1941), pp. 41–43. This work contains other useful information on Hannah, especially pp. 24–43. Molinoff presents the boarding school story uncritically, but see below for my discussion of Hannah's feelings of inferiority because of her lack of education. [BACK]

52. Molinoff, Notes, p. 39. [BACK]

53. The quotation from Hannah's obituary in the Burlington Free Press and Times is from Molinoff, Notes, p. 42. The writer was Hannah's friend William Hassett, who later served on Franklin D. Roosevelt's White House staff. “In her earlier years she enjoyed a wide acquaintance with contemporary artists and literary people,” Hassett explained in a letter to Molinoff, “and knew intimately many of the celebrities of a generation ago” (Molinoff, Notes, p. 25). Though in chronic ill health, Hannah, the last surviving member of Whitman's immediate family, was eighty-five when she died in 1908. [BACK]

54. George Whitman, quoted in “Notes from Conversations with George W. Whitman, 1893,” in In Re Walt Whitman, ed. Horace L. Traubel, Richard Maurice Bucke, and Thomas B. Harned (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1893), p. 37. [BACK]

55. Faint Clews & Indirections: Manuscripts of Walt Whitman and His Family, ed. Clarence Gohdes and Rollo G. Silver (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1949), p. 209. Subsequent citations to this collection of source material will be cited parenthetically in the text. [BACK]

56. Jerome M. Loving, ed., Civil War Letters of George Washington Whitman (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1975), p. 11. [BACK]

57. Molinoff, Notes, p. 25. For more on Heyde's poetry, see Jerome Loving, Walt Whitman: The Song of Himself (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), pp. 344–45. And for more on Heyde's career as an artist, see pp. 170, 385, 506 nn. 76, 77. [BACK]

58. For the “sexual” quote, see Dear Brother Walt, p. 114 n. 8. For the “she devil” quote, see Dear Brother Walt, p. 114 n. 9. For the “pleasure” quote, see Louisa's letter of June 7, 1866, Trent Collection. For speculation that Louisa relished Heyde's aggressive language, see Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, “Confusion of Tongues,” in Erkkila and Grossman, Breaking Bounds, p. 28. Sedgwick further suggests that Louisa was insulting Walt by transmitting Heyde's trenchant abuse of him. My sense of Louisa is that she was genuinely distressed and had no intention of insulting Walt. [BACK]

59. The “no talents” quote is from an unpublished letter in the Hannah Whitman Heyde Collection, Library of Congress. Pathetically, Hannah adds, “I often wish I was more like him,” that is, more like her husband. [BACK]

60. Hannah extended many invitations that were not accepted, but Heyde,

who censored her letters, was threatened by the prospect of family visits. From Boston in 1860, Walt wrote to Jeff, “Oh how much I would like to see her once more—and I must, this summer—After I recruit a while home, I shall very likely take a tour, partly business and partly for edification, through all the N[ew] E[ngland] states—then I shall see Han” (Corr 1:54). The 1860 tour never happened and it was not until June 1872, when he was reading at Dartmouth College, that Walt visited Burlington, never seeing his sister again. He continued to send books and money when he could, and his last letter was to her. See Corr 5:277. [BACK]

61. For Louisa Whitman, the issue was not one of theory but of practice. See the 1869 letter in which she compares Hannah unfavorably to a neighbor who dealt with her abusive husband more successfully. After a terrible fight, “young Chapells wife up stairs here … was singing and lively as usual she says he has an awful temper but it goes in one ear and out the other.” Quoted in Ceniza, Whitman and 19th-Century Women Reformers, p. 20. Ceniza makes the point that Louisa admired women who resisted domination. [BACK]

62. See her letter of July 21, 1861, Hannah Whitman Heyde Collection. Hannah was often frustrated by the fact that Heyde could be so amiable with others and hateful to her. As she explains it, he had been laughing outside her windows with a man who was a fellow boarder in the hotel where they were staying. “I said cheerfully how much I would like it if he could be pleasant so with me. He said he and that young man were of an equality. I laughed and said well is not a husband and wife one as good as another. He as usual got angry[,] said we were not.” And then he tried to choke her. [BACK]

63. On the “uppertendom,” see Hannah's unpublished letter dated Monday Morning, Burlington, Oct., beginning “My dear Mother, I have not written in so long because Charlie is most of the time so terrible cross.” She repeatedly describes feelings of inferiority when comparing herself to other women. By 1881, however, she was attracting attention as “Walt Whitman's sister” and the “uppertendom” was seeking her out. Her November 1881 letter to Walt is heartening and is written from a better place. Hannah Whitman Heyde Collection, Library of Congress. [BACK]

64. The quotations are from the letter in the Hannah Whitman Heyde Collection, beginning “My dear Mother,” cited above. [BACK]

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