WALT WHITMAN'S SLIPS: MANUFACTURING MANUSCRIPT.
THE EPISTEMOLOGICAL AND MATERIAL RUPTURE between Renaissance and nineteenth-century literature is marked in many ways, but nowhere more strikingly than in the status of a poet's handwriting. Not only does it seem as if every possible scrap of Walt Whitman's autograph work has been preserved, but reproductions of these scraps also began to circulate in print by the end of the nineteenth century. In March 1880, The Art Autograph published a manuscript facsimile of Whitman's "The Prairie States." Eleven years later, in March 1891, Munson's Magazine published a facsimile of "The Commonplace" (see Figure 1). (1) Whitman played a major role in the development of what I will call the manuscript imperative, both as the besieged victim of autograph-hunters and as the brilliant manipulator of the cultural and economic value of poems written in his own hand, hand-corrected proofs, and personal letters.
The manuscript imperative was itself inscribed within the emergence of a biographical imperative, which Margeta de Grazia magisterially analyzed in her 1991 book, Shakespeare Verbatim. (2) As de Grazia's work demonstrates, Edmund Malone constructed a biography for Shakespeare in the 1790s out of the most meager of materials, but Malone's biography entered into the very heart of Shakespearean criticism by the simple expedient of dating the Bard's plays. If the life preceded the works, the works themselves told the inner story of Shakespeare's biographical development in a form that could not be more distant from the simply generic categories into which the plays had been divided in the 1623 First Folio. In this new biographical approach epitomized by Malone, manuscripts and other memorabilia became the preferred materials for telling an author's inner history--and if such materials did not exist, they had to be forged.
By the late eighteenth century, the autographs and relics of literary writers were avidly collected, with the manuscript and biographical imperatives both generated and were sustained by a new institution: the literary archive. In a ground-breaking 2014 essay, "The Author's Hand," Roger Chartier describes how the first such archives emerged in eighteenth-century France and Germany. (4) At first, archives were primarily concerned with gathering the bodily remains of famous authors. Marbach, today the most important literary archive in Germany, was based on the earlier archiving of Friedrich Schiller, starting with his supposed skull and innumerable locks of his hair. The archive's desire was for the author in his or her own person--and, notoriously in the case of Jeremy Bentham, for the complete corpse. The easiest bodily relic to obtain, transmit, and preserve, however, was hair.
Walt Whitman's hair would, indeed, be obsessively archived, like the "lock of hair / WW 73d year" at the New York Public Library. (14) The Library of Congress similarly possesses some of Whitman's hair, framed together with the following certification:
Walt Whitman's hair, given to me by Mrs Davis (his housekeeper) 31 March '92 This lock, cut off on the day of Walt's funeral by Mrs Davis (at my request) would have been twice as large--had not John Burroughs then having a cup of tea with Mrs Davis when I called for it, and then Mrs D. felt obliged to the divide it between J.B and myself. W. AJ. (5)
And there are authenticated locks of Whitman's hair in many other institutions (see Figures 2 and 3). (6) The very existence of these relics of contemporary authors conjured up for nineteenth-century scholars and collectors the fantasy that such relics must always have been collected; if one could have a lock of Voltaire's or Byron's hair, surely seventeenth-century admirers of the greatest of English writers like Shakespeare and Milton must also have been collecting them? On January 23, 1818, John Keats wrote to Benjamin Bailey: "I was at Hunt's the other day, and he surprised me with a real authenticated Lock of Milton's Hair. I know you would like what I wrote thereon so here it is," and Keats proceeds to copy out the poem that he had written "on seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair." (7)
Such "real authenticated Lock[s]" of famous Renaissance authors were being "found" with increasing rapidity. In 1796, more than a decade before Keats contemplated "a real authenticated Lock of Milton's Hair," a multitude of readers were able to contemplate an engraving of Shakespeare's hair in William Henry Ireland's Miscellaneous papers and legal instruments under the hand and seal of William Shakspeare. (8) Shakespeare's engraved hair accompanied an engraving of an autograph letter to Shakespeare's beloved wife-to-be, Anne Hathaway. This is part of what the letter said:
Dearest Anna ...I pray you perfume this my poor Lock with thy balmy Kisses for then indeed shall Kings themselves bow and pay homage to it. I do assure thee no rude hand hath knotted it. Thy Willis alone hath done the work... o Anna do I cherish thee in my heart for thou art as a tall Cedar stretching forth its branches and succouring the smaller Plants from nipping Winter or the boisterous Winds... Adieu sweet Love Thine ever William Shakspeare
Collectors who paid more might be so lucky as to get not just an engraving of Shakespeare's hair but the hair itself (see Figure 4). (9)
Edmund Malone, who, as Margreta de Grazia has shown, was among the first and certainly the greatest scholar to theorize and institutionalize the "biographical" Shakespeare, was also one of the first to pronounce Ireland's collection a forgery from beginning to end. A year after Ireland's Miscellaneous Papers, John Nixon engraved a caricature of the whole Ireland family at work, although the father, Samuel, is wrongly depicted as the initiator of the forgeries. (10) He kneels on the floor beside an old chest, from which he has extracted a truly massive "Lock of my Dear Williams Hair" (see Figures 5 and 6). The caption below reads: "The first thing I shew you is a relick most rare, / An astonishing Lock of the great Shakspeares hair." The sheer quantity of forgeries, however, had little or no effect on the scholarly back-projection that hypothesized as-yet undiscovered chests that would give the same kind of literary archives for the great writers of the past that were for the first time being carefully compiled for writers in the present.
When it comes to the Whitman archive, the scale is simply overwhelming: hair, signatures, photographs, paintings, reviews, readers' letters and annotations--and not only printed editions but also endless manuscripts and proof copies with Whitman's autograph corrections. Above all, the preserved documents show the intricate relation between manuscript and print in the production of Whitman's verse. Whitman, a printer himself by training, habitually added detailed, hand-written instructions to the compositor. A manuscript of "After all, not to create only" (c. 1871), for example, is replete with such directions in red ink and in pencil: "figures"; "indent 3 ems"; "one em dash"; "# blank line"; "2 line A" (see Figure 7). (11)
My main concern in this essay is with Whitman's manuscript engagement with what are usually and misleadingly called "proofs." It should be stressed that these "proofs" were virtually never for the direct inclusion of a poem in a book. To the contrary, Whitman had each separate poem set up in type by itself so that he could see how it looked as well as what textual corrections he needed to make. In this sense, Whitman was only secondarily a writer of books--above all the multiple editions of Leaves of Grass, with which we now associate his name; he was primarily a writer of individual poems, who only later, however obsessively, recast them into book form.
"Shakespeare-Bacon's Cipher" is a clear example of how Whitman first wrote a poem for publication in a magazine and then rewrote it for publication in his book Good-Bye My Fancy. In 1887, Whitman began to draft a poem that he called "The Mystic Cipher" on a slip of paper (see Figure 8). (12) On September 3, 1887, he sent a revised version to Samuel McClure, the founder and co-editor of McClure's Magazine with the following note: "Can you use this little poem, 'Shakespeare-Bacon Cipher?' The price is $25... I retain the right to print in future book. It will not be proper for you to take out copyright--but the thing is exclusively yours until after printing and publishing in your papers." (13) McClure turned the poem down but it was accepted by The Cosmopolitan, which paid Whitman $20 and printed it in October 1887 (see Figure 9). In 1891, Whitman returned to the poem again, copying it out from the printed version in his own hand (see Figure 10). (14) The poem now had a new title, with Bacon's name dropped, and "Shakespeare" spelled in the way that Whitman strongly preferred: "Shakspere." As always, he was profoundly concerned about how the poem would appear on the page, disliking the formal symmetry and tapering size of The Cosmopolitan's heading for the poem:
SHAKESPEARE BACON'S CIPHER A HINT TO SCIENTISTS
BY WALT WHITMAN
In the new manuscript version, Walt Whitman's name went to the bottom of the page, as it usually did on these slips, a point to which I shall return. The title itself is now printed in bold with "A Hint to Scientists" in small italics inside brackets. As usual, Whitman gives explicit instructions to David McKay, Whitman's publisher in Philadelphia from 1881 until his death: "if convenient let me see a proof before Saturday noon"; "italic say Bourgeois shoved to right." (15) There is a constant back and forth between manuscript and print: the printed magazine version of 1887; Whitman's recopying of the printed poem by hand in 1891; the setting of printed slips from Whitman's manuscript and from his specific instructions.
I have stressed above that Whitman was, in the first instance, the writer of individual poems that he would only later collect into book form. But I would equally stress that many of his later poems, like "Shakespere-Bacon's Cipher," were short. This is partly because he was increasingly printing his poems in newspapers and magazines. For instance, in 1890 Whitman worked on a first proof of "For Queen Victoria's Birthday," which was published on May 24 in the Philadelphia Public Ledger (see Figure 10). (16) This was only the first proof, and there were to be both second and third proofs. The second proof, however, comes with this curious instruction from Whitman: "correct & give me ^this evening^ 30 slips on good Paper (Print good & black like this)" (see Figure 11). (17) Why would Whitman want 30 copies if they were just for proofing? And why did they need to be on "good Paper"?
Over the last few years, I have examined several more examples of Whitman ordering multiple copies of proofs. On an 1887 proof of "After the Supper and Talk," Whitman not only writes corrections to the punctuation but also adds "30 Copies" at the top right (see Figure 12). (18) And at the bottom of a corrected proof of "'Going Somewhere,'" an elegy on the death of his intimate friend Anne Gilchrist, Whitman writes "(let me have 30 impressions)" (see Figure 13). (19) Indeed, Whitman sometimes ordered 100 or more of these proofs at a time, as he did for "How I made a Book" in 1886 or for a poem printed in the Camden Daily Post in 1892, when he gave a bundle of twenty of the 125 of these slips to Horace Traubel for distribution.
A commonality of these so-called "proofs" is that they all have Whitman's name printed at the bottom, a curious feature when that was rarely how a poem was meant to appear in either magazine or book. "'Going Somewhere'" was first printed in Lippincott's Magazine in November 1887, but as the second in a cluster of four poems under the general heading "November Boughs." There is a corrected proof for this magazine version, showing that the relation between the "proof" of the individual poem and the poem as printed is by no means direct (see Figure 14). (20) First, of course, the name of Whitman does not appear beneath each of the four poems. Indeed, Whitman moves his name from the bottom to the top of the page, perhaps because in the former position it looks too similar to the way his name appears nearly always at the bottom of the "proofs" of individual poems.
A further question is raised when looking at Whitman's so-called "proofs": why do so many survive when the usual function of a proof is so that the printer can set up a corrected version, after which the proof can be thrown away? This is clearly not what is happening when a poet orders thirty or a hundred copies of "proofs" at a time, especially if they are to be printed "on good Paper." In fact, Whitman himself rarely called these copies "proofs"--"slips" was the term that he and his friends habitually used. In 1890, H. Buxton Forman wrote to Horace Traubel: "W. W.'s 'acknowledgment' of 1889 is said to be reprinted from his slip: is that a printed slip separate from the book? If so, can I get a copy?" But when Traubel reported this to Whitman, the poet responded: "No, I have no slips: I don't suppose one of them could be found anywhere here." (21) "Slip" is peculiarly appropriate for a number of reasons: its primary meaning is "a twig, sprig, or small shoot taken from a plant, tree, etc., for the purpose of grafting or planting." (15) Certainly, Whitman conceived of all his poems as both growing out of and returning to the continuing project that he called Leaves of Grass. In that sense, the short poems that were job-printed as "slips" were inspired by the larger project and would in turn be grafted onto it, often in the form of "Annexes." But "slip" also has two specifically typographic senses: "a proof pulled on a long slip of paper, for revision before the type is made up into pages," first recorded in 1818; and a small piece of paper or parchment (from 1688). In other words, for a printer, a "slip" might indeed be a "proof" in the conventional sense--except one that was above all small. (16)
As he grew older, Whitman for the most part stopped writing the long poems that still define his reputation. He could make more money by submitting short poems to newspapers and magazines, and the great majority of his later poems are indeed short. This redefined Leaves of Grass, the later editions of which oscillate between the long earlier poems and the short later poems that frame them. The 1880-1881 edition of Leaves of Grass, for instance, begins with a section entitled "Inscriptions" and the length of the poems in it are as follows: 8 lines, 18 lines, 24 lines, 3 lines, 7 lines, 18 lines, 84 lines, 5 lines, 7 lines, 6 lines, 7 lines, 3 lines, 14 lines, 5 lines, 8 lines, 5 lines, 4 lines, 11 lines, 4 lines, 3 lines, 6 lines, 9 lines, 2 lines, 2 lines, a total of 263 lines in 24 poems, or an average of less than 11 lines per poem. If one excludes the 84-line "Eidolons," the average is less than 8 lines per poem.
These short poems, printed individually and in multiple copies on slips of paper and with Whitman's own handwritten notes and corrections, have been preserved in large numbers. But the handwritten additions are by no means always the kinds of corrections we would expect to find in a proof copy. There are three curious features in one of the several slips of "Patroling Barnegat" (see Figure 15). (17) First, it is composed of several cut-up pieces. Second, Whitman's own autograph is written at the head of the page, underneath the title. But the final cut-out piece is deliberately torn on the right. That is because it contained Whitman's printed name, which he replaces with his autograph signature. Thirdly, Whitman has added at the top left "in Harper's for April"--in other words, the "proof" is likely a copy of a poem that has already appeared in a magazine.
Manufacturing Whitman Manuscripts
Whitman was in fact involved in two quite separate kinds of publication: first, the production of multiple editions of Leaves of Grass, for most of which he was active as designer, proofreader, and typographic consultant; second, and on an almost daily basis, the generation of manuscripts. Unlike his Renaissance predecessors, Whitman's manuscript publication began with printed slips of paper, to which he then made manuscript additions. Whitman rarely undertook this manuscript publication for direct financial reward; rather, it both grew out of and helped to establish a coterie of friends, editors, critics and admirers. There was no way that Whitman could keep pace with the massive correspondence that he received as he grew steadily more famous. What he could and did do was to circulate his most recent poems through the slips that David McKay printed for him in multiple copies. These were sent out to friends and acquaintances all over the world. After all, what they wanted was not Whitman's printed works, which most of them already possessed, but the traces of the poet himself, the products of the master's own hand.
What better or more convenient way to distribute non-time-consuming traces of his hand than through printed slips with his own handwritten corrections. Moreover, every single slip proclaimed the name of the poet in capitals at the bottom: "WALT WHITMAN." This would, of course, have made no sense if Whitman had been preparing these as proofs for book publication, where his name would only appear on the binding and/or the title page and/or the copyright page, if at all, and rarely attached to single poems. On these slips, however, his name was crucial both as a memento for the coterie who received them and as a potential advertisement to the recipients' friends among whom they sometimes circulated. Indeed, Whitman describes sending a "little bundle of slips of the new pieces," together with an autograph copy of the latest edition of Leaves of Grass, to Algernon Charles Swinburne in December 1881. The very fact that so many of these corrected slips survive is testimony both to Whitman's contribution to what I have called the manuscript imperative and to the developing power of institutionalized literary archives and their role in preserving authorial traces.
My final speculation in relation to these slips is the possibility that Whitman deliberately requested misprints, which might explain the multiple copies of the same slip on which Whitman has made the same correction time and time again. There are, for example, six corrected slips of the 1891 printing of "Shakspere-Bacon's Cipher" (18) (see figures 16 and 17 for two examples). Every one of them contains a single, obvious misprint: in a poem about authorship, the only time that "author" should appear, we find "anthor." And every time, the hand of the author, the hand of Whitman himself, conspicuously crosses out the "n" of "anthor" and replaces it with a "u" in the margin. Here a collector encounters the hand of Whitman himself--but as a copyist rather than as an author, his manual reproduction of the "u" a curious parody of the mechanical reproduction of the printing house. Of course, an inverted "n" producing a "u" is a very common compositor's error. But note how the proliferation of the "proofs" enables Whitman to proliferate his own hand with the greatest of ease. Seven surviving misprinted slips showing seven examples of the poet's hand at work; seven recipients who preserved these slips eventually transmitting these slips to the three literary archives where they are now preserved.
Whether or not I am right about "anthor" being a deliberate misprint, I would stress just how little time and effort these corrections required, particularly in relation to how valued they were by the many recipients who must usually have assumed that they were getting a unique example of the poet at work rather than receiving one of multiple copies. The seventh slip of "Shakspere-Bacon's Cipher" was given to Horace Traubel, who could have had no such illusions, since he picked up as many of these pieces of "trash" (as Whitman called them, see WWC 5:454) as he could get his hands on in his almost daily visits to the poet in Camden. Traubel's acknowledgement of these slips as both relics and as part of a wider system of circulation is captured in the note that he wrote on the bottom of his copy (Figure 18):
From the personal papers of Whitman. Marginal correction by W.W. himself. These sheets from new poems W. had made for his friends. Traubel
On the one hand, the poem is from the "personal papers of Whitman" with "correction by W.W. himself"; on the other hand, it comes from the multiple "sheets" of "new poems" that Whitman had "made for his friends."
In reality, Whitman varied greatly both as to whether he used the slips as proof copies (usually for further, corrected slips rather than for newspaper or magazine publication) or whether they were only the sake of circulating manuscripts to feed what I have called the manuscript imperative. Take, for example, a slip of "My 71st Year," a poem that was first published in the Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine in November 1889. As usual, Whitman had slips made of the poem to circulate to friends, and, as so often, this one contains his own manuscript corrections ("the War of '63 and '4") as well as notes on where the poem had been published ("Century Nov 89"; see Figure 19). (19) Like nearly all these slips, this one is a job-printed stand-alone poem on good paper, with plenty of space around it, and, below, his own name in capitals, aligned right. But an earlier slip of the same poem has also been preserved (see Figures 20 and 21). (20) Whitman identifies this earlier version specifically as a "proof" in a notation at the top of the page, identifying it as a genuine proof that was sent to him by his Philadelphia printer David McKay on the back of another slip, published by the Christian Union in support of the Democratic Party. (21)
Whitman orders twenty copies of this earlier slip, one of which, no doubt, was the previous slip illustrated above. Whitman's own writing on it is confusing because it was done at two different times. The first writing is corrections to the proof. At this stage, Whitman alters the punctuation, emends a spelling error, and makes a typographic change at the top of the page ("71st": "st/ lower case of ital or something smaller'"). But the manuscript addition of "the War of '63 and '4" cannot have been on this proof, because, if it had been, it would have been printed on the revised slip that he later sent to friends. The fact that the revised slip, as well as the proof, have the manuscript addition shows that it must have been an after-thought, subsequent to both the proof and the revised slip. The word "Proof" at the top, like Whitman's signature, date, and address below, was undoubtedly the later value-adding of the writer's own hand, aimed at a friend or collector after the proof had been used by the printer. These later additions helped to transform the proof into an archivable relic.
While the revised slip with Whitman's neat penciled notes on a good piece of paper is clearly superior in every way as a piece of printing, the earlier proof is clearly superior as a piece of memorabilia, since it gathers together so much more of the author's hand, from his signature, to his multiple corrections, to a date and address. Moreover, as a collector's item, the first proof is indeed a unique object, printed just the one time on the back of another printed object (the Christian Union's slip in support of the Democrats) that, as far as I could discover, now survives only in this one copy, whereas the revised slip is, as the prior proof reminds us, just one of "20 copies."
In other words, Whitman was not just engaged in manuscript publication in the age of print; he was developing a range of strategies for different kinds of "manuprint," as Jay Grossman argues, that he could circulate, from the neat printed slips that he sent to Anne Gilchrist, Swinburne, Tennyson, and the Rossettis in England to the "trash" that Traubel realized would in time become the more valuable relics. To reiterate, these printed slips were not primarily directed towards the proofing of poems for publication in newspapers, magazines, or books, even if at times they were certainly used by Whitman to do just that. Their main function was as gifts through which he simultaneously reaffirmed his friendships, cultivated his literary reputation among a coterie, or, if necessary, could satisfy an insistent collector.
Whitman's Autograph in Manuscript and Print (22)
At the same time, Whitman became increasingly aware of the financial value of his manuscripts and began to make a business out of reversing the movement from manuscript to print by writing out already-printed poems in his own hand. An early example of this practice was at the request of John Hay, Abraham Lincoln's private secretary and biographer, who in 1887 requested an autograph copy of "O Captain! My Captain!," Whitman's elegy on the death of Lincoln, which had first been published more than twenty years earlier in the New-York Saturday Post. Whitman charged Hay $2 for copying the poem (see Figure 21) (23) and $20 for two sets of autographed books, but Hay generously paid $30, noting that "I am not giving you anything like what the writing is worth to me, but trying to give a just compensation for the trouble of copying, simply." (24)
Whitman had a more complicated and troubled relation with another autograph hunter, Charles Aldrich, a newspaper editor and a member of the Iowa House of Representatives. In 1884 Aldrich had collected the autograph of Whitman's friend, John Burroughs, at the same time asking about how he might get Whitman's autograph. Burroughs responded by sending, together with his own autograph, Whitman's address and the useful advice: "If you feel like sending [Whitman] a little money do so. It will be all right." Aldrich ended up buying the $3 autographed edition of Leaves of Grass, which Whitman himself was publishing and marketing partly as a way of turning the whole autographing business to his own advantage. Indeed, he had a card printed up that he sent to autograph-hunters, telling them that they could purchase autographed copies of Leaves of Grass from him. But Aldrich kept pursuing Whitman for further manuscripts, and, as he had done for Hay, Whitman wrote out in his own hand a copy of "O Captain! My Captain!" The autograph poem copied out from the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass was only one of many manuscript mementos that Aldrich got from Whitman, and his collection, which he gave to the State of Iowa, includes six autographed photos of Whitman and a photo of Whitman's mother. By 1889, Whitman was tired of Aldrich's avid pursuit of memorabilia; he complained to Horace Traubel that Aldrich was "a very hungry man.... He has been here--has had autograph, what-not. But is never satisfied--is always crying for more and more." (25)
A more successful and financially rewarding recopying of "O Captain! My Captain!" was made by Whitman for Whitman's friend and physician, Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, in April of 1890. (26) The deal was negotiated by the poet's supporter Horace Howard Furness, and the single-page manuscript cost Mitchell $100, ten times the cost of a two-volume autographed set of Whitman's works. In fact, it is clear that Mitchell thought of the money as at least partially a gift to a poor artist, and he wrote on the back of his copy of "O Captain! My Captain!": "To give Walt a little money I offered for a gentleman 100$ for an autograph copy of My Captain." Mitchell's investment should be no surprise, though, since by the 1890s manuscripts by Whitman were commanding high prices on the open market. In 1886, Whitman had received a letter from W. I. Whiting, who worked for the New York auctioneers Scammel Brothers, telling him that in a sale of "Autographs & Books," Whitman's had commanded prices that "were the highest paid for any similar lots." (27) While a first edition of the Leaves of Grass sold for $10, a single manuscript letter had sold for $80. Whitman immediately forwarded the letter to Jeannette Gilder, editor of The Critic, and in the July 3 issue of the magazine a note was printed about the sale and about the prices that Whitman's manuscripts were fetching.
This demand for products in Whitman's own hand also played an increasingly oppressive part in his later life, however. He was besieged by autograph-hunters and constantly complained that most of the letters he received were demands for his signature. In 1888, he told Traubel (WWC 2:82-83):
"My today's mail has been chiefly an autograph mail... Not a day but the autograph hunter is on my trail--chases me, dogs me! Sometimes two or three appear in the very same mail. Their subterfuges, deceptions, hypocrisies, are curious, nasty, yes damnable. I will get a letter from a young child--a young reader--this is her first book--she has got fond of me--she should be encouraged in her fine ambitions--would I not &c &c--and I would not, of course--why should I? I can see the grin of an old deceiver in such letters." Today a woman came in whose husband had been one of W.'s fellow clerks in Washington. She asked for an autograph, which W. gave her on a slip of paper. "And a sentiment," she added, offering to pass the slip back. W. took no notice of the slip but quietly said: "That is all." She withdrew. Autographed Harrison Morris' copy of the Leaves. Is generally quite willing to give his autograph but hates to be worked. "Sometimes two or three letters will come together in one mail and I say to myself: Here's a fillip for a few thoughts. I settle myself in my chair, get the glasses on my nose, and lo! every note is for an autograph."
Later, Whitman told Traubel that "The last few weeks have been autograph weeks--the worst spread of the disease I have known.... It is horribly tiresome business'" (WWC 8:282).
One curious aspect of Whitman's literary archive is that it preserves so many of these autograph-hunters' letters. In 1881, Louis Karpstyin wrote to Walt Whitman:
Inclosed you will find a card. Would you favor me with your Autograph to go with a collection of Autographs of Poets Authors and Distinguished Persons. You will oblige me much (28)
The following year, Jacob Moller wrote even more curtly:
On the 3d of Dec [81 I?] wrote you a letter kindly asking if you would not oblige me with your autograph, I enclosed stamps at same time for returns, but as yet have not received your reply. I have the Autographs of nearly all the Great Men in this Country, and would be highly pleased with yours. I enclose stamps again. (29)
The only reason that we have such letters now is because Whitman often recycled their rectos for drafts of his poems, and so the versos have piggybacked into Whitman's literary archive.
Occasionally, Whitman may have kept such letters because they genuinely touched him. Such is clearly the case with a letter from a 24-year-old music teacher, Lizzie Westgate, who was introduced to Whitman's poetry by a brave high-school teacher when she would have been about sixteen. Lizzie wrote:
It was six years ago, in a school in a quiet New England town, that I first heard your vivid measure. Our Teacher, a lady of unusually broad education, and also an enthusiastic lover of your writings, read aloud to us the touching lines--"Come up from the Fields, Father." We, boys & girls were young, and merry, but we all felt the fresh country air, and later the deep pathos, and our teacher's voice thrilled with it. It was as if a fresh, piney breeze had wafted in at the windows of that warm, busy room. I do not think any of us moved for a moment after the poem was ended; and then such a spontaneous, unpremeditated burst of applause, rose from girlish & boyish hearts, and surprised our teacher. It was the outburst of admiration from honest hearts, for something that we all felt very keenly.... I think never since that hour can I read my well-worn "Leaves of Grass," without that vague imagined scent of a piney breeze. And among all the daily increasing homage which follows you, there is none, I am sure more sincere than mine.
Lizzie concludes her letter:
I cannot imagine you responding to so commonplace a request as that for an autograph; but if there is one thing I would prize, it is your name, in your (by me) well-known hand. I intend getting a copy of the original photograph from which the Scribner portrait was taken, if I find it possible. And if in all your daily making you can find time to notice this humble request, I shall have the name of the man whose writings I most admire, in his own hand, and it will be my greatest treasure. (30)
Whitman's response has not been preserved, but it is most likely that he did write back: he wrote in the margin of his daybook, opposite the entries for November 1880: "to do--Dec 21 send photo to Lizzie Westgate 2123 Larkin St San Francisco CA." (31) No doubt, the photo was signed.
What makes Lizzie Westgate's letter unusual is that she actually writes about Whitman as a poet, noting that "the outburst of admiration from honest hearts" was "not for our teacher, nor for Walt Whitman, but for the thrilling verses we had heard." More commonly, requests were simply for his signature, even when those requests came from close friends. For all Traubel's immense love and sympathy for Whitman, he himself was continually begging Whitman for his signature (WWC 7:31):
I asked him for a couple of autographs for Agnes and Mrs. Fels to frame as tail-pieces to the big pictures. He wrote two names for me--but, as I found, on a soiled sheet of paper and not in the shape that would do for framing. Will have to try him again.
And Traubel also acts as messenger for other requests, as he records
the month before (WWC 6:478):
Hicks writes me from Boston to get him an autographed copy of November Boughs, which he wished to give to Mrs. Helen Campbell, who, he writes, "has all W. W.'s other writings."
Some of the most importunate demands came not from total strangers but from correspondents to whom Whitman had become close. Such, for example, was the case with Charles Warren Stoddard (1843-1909), whose Poems, edited by Bret Harte, were published in 1867. Stoddard would become a lecturer at the Catholic University of America in 1889, but he had previously been an avid and intrepid traveler. He wrote to Whitman:
My copy of your "Leaves of Grass" Edt-67 has been with me to the Sandwich Islands and to Tahiti and all over Europe--to Egypt; up the Nile into Nubia, up into Asiatic Turkey and if you could see its well thumbed pages you would realize how faithful a reader I have been. It is now my chief delight and I am glad to tell you so. (32)
Of course, Stoddard wanted to do more than praise Whitman. Indeed, he wanted a lot in return, and it is by no means clear whether he is planning to pay for the transactions or whether he is trading upon their fascinating correspondence about homoeroticism in the South Seas. (33) He begins by asking after the first edition of Leaves of Grass, printed in 1855:
May I ask if it will be possible for me to obtain a copy of the Original Edition--the large thin volume which, I am told, you helped to print? I want so much to have it. Did you set the type--or any part of it?
He continues with the more straightforward request for the two-volume works, for which he will indeed pay "the price":
Have you still some copies of your complete works in two Vols, such as I saw in England? If you have, may I send you the price of them and receive the set with your photographs and Autograph (your name and mine) from your own hands?
But now comes the main request:
Before me hangs a picture of you which I cut long ago from an Early Edition of your Poems. I like it above all others; It is the [best?]--a lithograph, I think--with the broad collar thrown open and such a glow of splendid health in the face. I want so much, dear Friend, to have certain lines, which I have selected, in your hand writing, to frame with this picture. Am I asking too much in asking this? Command me in return, my friend, and see if I will not respond. These are the lines I beg of you; are they not fit? Will you so far indulge me as to write them on a single page and to post them with your name and mine also? I beseech you do me this [favor?] and fear not that I will trouble you more--the Autograph "Behold this swarthy face, this unrefined face--these gray eyes, This beard--the white wool unclipt upon my neck, My brown hands, and the silent manner of me, without charm. You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean; But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And filter and fibre your blood. Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged; Missing one place, search an other; I stop somewhere, waiting for you. Walt Whitman to Chrs Warren Stoddard" In rereading this letter I feel that I am asking much--too much--but have not the heart to suppress any part of it.
It's difficult to know how to read this letter. At one level, it is a declaration of love. Their names, Stoddard hopes, will be conjoined, while Whitman "filter[s] and fibre[s] [Stoddard's] blood." But is Stoddard also suggesting that he would be willing to pay for such a transaction? Is the erotic or the commercial more embarrassing in the intricately intertwined and elusive strands of fandom? In Stoddard's case, his devotion to Whitman was indeed reciprocated. On July 7, 1880, he wrote to Whitman:
Dear Walt Whitman, Many, many thanks for the beautiful Vols and the autographs and postal card and the letters in the London Journal and the promise of a bit of your writing for me to frame with the picture of my [choice?]. Enclosed I send the postal order and hope it will reach you safely. The very day the Journal--containing your letters--arrived, part of the letter was quoted in the S.F. Chronicle. I need pay you no compliments; but I must again thank you for all the hours you have made precious to me, and once again assure you of the love of Your friend Chrs Warren Stoddard. (34)
On the one hand, devotion ("the love of Your Friend"); on the other, a commercial transaction ("Enclosed I send the postal order"). It is, however, impossible to tell if the money was for the printed volumes alone, while the autographs, memorabilia, and "a bit of your writing for me to frame" were gifts.
Whitman was simultaneously promoter, manipulator, and victim of the manuscript imperative. And yet, his poetry seemed to demand his autograph, starting paradoxically with the first edition of Leaves of Grass in 1855 and its portrait of an unnamed man, his shirt unbuttoned, his hat at an angle, one hand on his hip, the first poem of which begins "I CELEBRATE myself." And, for all the namelessness on the binding and title pages, the first poem famously introduces the reader to
Walt Whitman, an American, one of the roughs, a kosmos, Disorderly fleshy and sensual. eating drinking and breeding, No sentimentalist. no stander above men and women or apart from them. no more modest than immodest. (35)
In later editions, Whitman increasingly added his own name either in printed facsimile or, for a higher price, hand-written, his signature often the primary flourish on bindings, title pages, and the photographs of the poet that became a regular feature of these volumes.
In these later editions of Leaves of Grass, the book materialized the intimacy between poet and reader that the poems themselves had always proclaimed: "what I assume you shall assume, / For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you." (36) As the Good Gray Poet (37) turned his name to profit for the thousands of readers who bought his books, he simultaneously cultivated a different kind of intimacy within a more restricted coterie, bound together by the posted gift of a printed slip, hand-corrected by the author himself. What measures the gap between these slips and the manuscripts that John Donne sent to his friends is that only a single poem in Donne's hand survives because no one was interested in the autograph manuscript of a poet. As Roger Chartier has shown, the emergent institution of the literary archive in the eighteenth century would not only transform the survival of an author's manuscripts but also the conditions of their manufacture. Indeed, it was the combination of printing and the literary archive that would produce an ever-greater production and preservation of relics of the author's hand according to a new manuscript imperative created by the dominance of the printed text. (38)
Most nineteenth-century children in the U.S. learned to write, whether at home or school, from engraved calligraphic books and illustrations, as had their eighteenth-century ancestors. In 1713, Benjamin Franklin wrote to his nephew, who was named after him, praising him for his youthful accomplishments, above all in writing:
Goe on My Name and be progressive still Till thou Excell Great Cocker with thy Quill So Imitate and's Excellence Reherse... (39)
"Great Cocker" was Edward Cocker, the most famous writing-master of the seventeenth-century; but the "Quill" with which the young Franklin would "Imitate" and "Reherse" Cocker's copy-books traced writing, not in pen and ink, but in printed engravings that Cocker had manufactured and that were endlessly reprinted and copied so as to produce the period's standard "copper-plate hand." Franklin, the nephew, never claimed that he excelled "Great Cocker," but he was likely convinced that the copying of the engraved hand was the perfect analogy for the acquiring of virtue. In his autobiography, Franklin famously described his pursuit of moral perfection through repeated attempts to erase his faults. Although he finally gave up on the ivory notebook in which he recorded and then erased his mistakes, he nonetheless defended the significance of the project: "by the Endeavour [I became] a better and a happier Man than I otherwise should have been, if I had not attempted it; As those who aim at perfect Writing by imitating the engraved Copies, tho' they never reach the wish'd for Excellence of those Copies, their Hand i mended by the Endeavour." (40) The "hand," in this sense, is not an origin at all but a copying machine--the closer to the copy the better. The ideal, indeed, would be for the printed [engraved] hand to fully inhabit the bodily hand that wrote.
The "manuscript imperative" of the emergent literary archives radically reversed Franklin's sense of the priority of the engraved copy to the writing hand. In 1848, the first page of one of the earliest editions of Franklin's "Memoirs" to be renamed as his "Autobiography" shows not the usual letter-press characters, but the author sitting down to write a letter to his son (see Figure 23). (41) The pen, with which he appears to write, produces below the beginning of a manuscript page, but a manuscript page that is, of course, printed. The page attempts to trace its own origin away from the place and date of actual publication (New York, 1848) back to an authorial hand writing an "autobiography," a concept that postdates Franklin, who wrote, in a quite different vein, his "memoirs." (42) I mentioned at the beginning of this essay that eighteenth-century archives were obsessed above all with bodily parts, of which the easiest to obtain, transmit, and preserve was hair. The hand of the writer was an increasing obsession in the nineteenth century, and while the actual hands were increasingly cast in plaster and bronze, (43) the traces of that hand were collected through manuscripts.
In Whitman's case, however, what is striking is the extent to which his written hand is repeatedly added to a printed slip. Printing precedes "manuscript," materially as well as conceptually. The concept of "manuscript" is, indeed, a back-formation from printing; before the Gutenberg Revolution, there was, of course, no end of writing, but also there was no concept for writing by hand. (44) The conceptual opposition between "manuscript" and "printing" that underpinned the emergence of literary archives was a slow and arduous process.
Whitman's "manuprint," as Jay Grossman so brilliantly shows, worked against the antithesis between printed texts and authorial manuscripts that was firmly established by the nineteenth century.
"Manuprint" was not only what Whitman created but also what he desired in the writings of others. As he said to Traubel in 1890, speaking of Thomas Carlyle: "I wonder how his proof-sheets looked--what his methods were--it would curiously interest me! [T]he fingermarks of proof-sheets, manuscripts, are conclusive evidences--are final exhibitions: I always measure by them" (WWC 7:44). Note here that "the fingermarks of proof-sheets" precede "manuscripts," illustrating that, for Whitman, "manuprint" gives the most intimate insight into the writer's "methods." It is, I would suggest, in Whitman's hand-corrected printed slips that we can begin to decipher just how much the concept of "the author's manuscript," with its implications of priority and originality, occludes. Take, for instance, the five surviving slips of "Bravo, Paris Exhibition ^Exposition!^" (see Figures 24 and 25). (45) The printed slips themselves must have preceded the poem's first "official" publication in Harper's Weekly on September 28, 1889--despite the fact he refers back to the place of publication in all five slips, as if they postdated it. The strongest evidence for the priority of the slips to the poem as it appeared in Harper's is that what look like the "proof" corrections of the slips had already been incorporated into the Harper's version. In changing the slip's "Exhibition" to "Exposition" and in revising "dear France" to "before you close it, France," Whitman is simply working as a copyist--a copyist who transforms the printed texts back into what are now only five but were probably originally at least thirty slips that combined an early printed version and the belated hand of Whitman-as-scribe. The slips themselves are very close to an early penciled draft of "Bravo, Paris Exhibition!" that Whitman had sent to an unknown publisher. On the back, he wrote: "Can you use this?.... The price is $10, which please send me by mail here." (46) This manuscript version has all the uncorrected features of the slips. But if the slips themselves predate the Harper's version, Whitman's handwritten corrections postdate it.
Taken individually, each corrected slip might appear to be a proof copy for the magazine publication. But both the retrospective bibliographical citation to Harper's and the sheer repetition (each slip being itself a manuprint copy) reveal that Whitman had multiple slips made before the Harper's version, repurposing them afterwards as memorabilia that he could circulate to a coterie (usually, it would appear from the numbers that he ordered, a coterie of 30 or so people, although, of course, there's no reason to believe that the same 30 people received copies of the thousands of slips for all the short poems that he printed). From the perspective of collectors (then and now), each proof was a "manuscript" worth archiving because valuable both financially and from a literary perspective, since each slip held the precious relic of the author's hand. The story that the slips tell is not one of an author at work on the revision of a poem, however; it is of a scribe who, however famous, is engaged in the multiplication of manuprint copies. These copies, as Grossman argues, complicate the whole question of the priority of manuscript to print or of print to manuscript. For Whitman himself, the "fingermarks of proof-sheets" by which Whitman "measure[d]" a writer inscribe both the written and the printed, the machine and the hand, the hand as a machine and the machine as handiwork. (47)
I owe particular thanks to Ann Blair, Lynne Farrington, Jay Grossman, John Pollack, Michael Warner and, above all, Ed Folsom and the Whitman Archive. My footnotes cannot begin to express my indebtedness to Jay's "Manuprint" essay in this issue of WWQR and to Ed's Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary, available on the Walt Whitman Archive. Most of the bibliographical information in the footnotes and for the images is quoted directly from the Whitman Archive.
(1) Whitman Archive Title: "The Commonplace." Whitman Archive ID: loc.04077. Repository: Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Series: Literary File, Box: 26. Folder: The Commonplace (Mar. 1891). Printed Copy. March, 1891. A copy of the March, 1891, issue of Munson's Magazine, which includes "The Commonplace" in manuscript facsimile. It was also in 1891 that Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson brought out a second series of Emily Dickinson's poems, the volume being prefaced by four pages of facsimiles of Dickinson's autograph copy of "Renunciation." Whatever Dickinson's own intentions, her work would be reinscribed by her editors within the manuscript imperative of nineteenth-century literary culture, a manuscript imperative that has only grown since then.
(2) Margreta de Grazia, Shakespeare Verbatim: the Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991).
(3) Roger Chartier, "The Author's Hand," The Author's Hand and the Printer's Mind (Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press, 2013), 73-86.
(4) Walt Whitman, lock of hair, initialed, signed and dated, New York Public Library, Berg Collection MSS Whitman.
(5) Walt Whitman, lock of hair, Library of Congress, Charles E. Feinberg Collection: Miscellany, 1834-1918, Mss 18630, box 48.
(6) "A Whitman fellowship in the Lancashire mill town of Bolton, England, cherished among other sacred objects a lock of the poet's hair and the stuffed body of a canary that had once trilled in the parlor at Mickle Street" (Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman: A Life [New York: Simon and Schuster, 1980], 34).
(7) John Keats to Benjamin Bailey, January 23, 1818; www.john-keats.com/briefe/230118.htm.
(8) William Henry Ireland, Miscellaneous Papers and Legal Instruments under the Hand and Seal of William Shakspeare (London: Mr. Egerton et al., 1796).
(9) Ireland, Miscellaneous Papers, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA; Call #14037, with a lock of "Shakespeare's" hair pasted in.
(10) John Nixon, The Oaken Chest, or The Gold Mines of Ireland, a Farce [graphic]: the Earth hath Bubbles as the Water has & These are Them, Shakspere (London, ), Etching, British Museum, 1868, 0808.10344.
(11) Walt Whitman, "After all, not to create only," Whitman Archive ID: tex.00069, Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Item: 4, Folder: bv1, ca 1871.
(12) Walt Whitman, "The Mystic Cipher," Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 27, Folder: The Mystic Cipher. A MS. draft. Whitman Archive ID: loc.00220. Later revised and published as "Shakspere-Bacon's Cipher" in 1887.
(13) Walt Whitman to S. S. McCllure, September 3, 1887, available on the Walt Whitman Archive: whitmanarchive.org/biography/correspondence/tei/med.00809.html.
(14) Walt Whitman, "Shakespere Bacon's Cipher," The Cosmopolitan, 4 (October 1887): 142, Whitman Archive ID: per.00030.
(15) Walt Whitman, "Shakspere's Cypher," Whitman Archive ID: tem.00001, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Special Collections, Temple University Libraries, Temple University, ca. 1891.
(16) Walt Whitman," For Queen Victoria's Birthday," Whitman Archive ID: yal.00032, Yale University: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Box: 3.
(17) Walt Whitman," For Queen Victoria's Birthday," Whitman Archive ID: loc.00198, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 27, Folder: For Queen Victoria's Birthday (1890).
(18) Walt Whitman, "After the Supper and Talk," Whitman Archive ID: loc.00175, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 26, Folder: After the Supper and talk (1887).
(19) Walt Whitman, "Going Somewhere," Whitman Archive ID: loc.00201, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 27, Folder: Going Somewhere (1887).
(20) Walt Whitman, "November Boughs," Whitman Archive ID: loc.02484, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 30, Folder: You Lingering Sparse Leaves of Me (1887).
(21) Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, in nine volumes available on the Walt Whitman Archive. Hereafter, WWC. A year earlier, Whitman told Traubel that he had found "a slip of Going Somewhere" (WWC 4:496).
(22) I am deeply indebted to Jessica Rosenberg's meditations on "slips" in her "Botanical Virtues: Horticulture and Textual Culture in Early Modern England" (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming). See particularly her final section on "An Increase of Small Things."
(23) On the history of Renaissance slips, see Ann Blair's fascinating account in "The Rise of Note-Taking in Early Modern Europe," Intellectual History Review 20, 3 (2010), 303-316, especially 315 and in Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), especially 93-116.
(24) Walt Whitman, "Patroling Barnegat," Whitman Archive ID: tex.00041, The University of Texas at Austin: The Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Box: 2, Folder: 4.
(25) Walt Whitman, "Shakspere-Bacon's Cipher," Whitman Archive ID: tex.00083, Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Item: 52, Box: bv2, ca. 1891; ibid., Whitman Archive ID: tem.00003, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Special Collections, Temple University Libraries, Temple University, ca. 1891; ibid. Whitman Archive ID: loc.00220, loc.00294, loc.02413, loc.02414, Library of Congress, Charles E. Feinberg Collection: Miscellany, 1834-1918, ca. 1891 (four copies); ibid. Whitman Archive ID: tem.00003Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, Item: 52, Box: bv2, ca. 1891.
(26) Walt Whitman, "My 71st Year," Whitman Archive ID: loc.02505, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 27, Folder: My 71st Year (1889).
(27) Walt Whitman, "My 71st Year," Whitman Archive ID: loc.00218, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 27, Folder: My 71st Year (1889). The slip is printed on the verso of a page titled "Principles of the Republican and Democratic Parties."
(28) "Principles of the Republican and Democratic Parties," the recto of Walt Whitman, "My 71st Year," Whitman Archive ID: loc.00218, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 27, Folder: My 71st Year (1889). Printed on the verso of "Principles of the Republican and Democratic Parties."
(29) I am particularly indebted to Eric Conrad, "'Anything honest to sell books': Walt Whitman and the Autograph Monster," Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, 32 (2015), 187-214.
(30) Walt Whitman, "O Captain! my Captain!," Whitman Archive ID: brn.00001, Brown University: John Hay Papers, 9 March 1887.
(31) The Correspondence, 1886-1889, 75, n. 35. [Add bibliographical info.]
(32) WWC 5:444.
(33) Walt Whitman, "O Captain! My Captain!" Whitman Archive ID: pml.00002, The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, MA 1212, April 27, 1890.
(34) W. I. Whiting to Walt Whitman, June 14, 1886, Whitman Archive ID: loc.01415, The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839-1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(35) Louis Karpstyin to Walt Whitman, November 4, 1881, Whitman Archive ID: loc.07437, The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842-1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(36) Jacob Moller to Walt Whitman, May 11, 1882, Whitman Archive ID: loc.07434, The Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1842-1937, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(37) Lizzie Westgate to Walt Whitman, November 28, 1880. Whitman Archive ID: loc.04367, The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839-1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
(38) Walt Whitman, Daybooks and Notebooks, vol. 1: Daybooks 1876-November 1881, ed. William White (New York: New York University Press), 213.
(39) Charles Warren Stoddard to Walt Whitman, June 14, 1880. Available on the Whitman Archive.
(40) For a fine account of the relation between Stoddard and Whitman, see Jonathan Ned Katz, Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003).
(41) Available on the Walt Whitman Archive.
(42) [Walt Whitman], Leaves of Grass (Brooklyn, NY: Walt Whitman, 1855), p. 29
(43) [Walt Whitman], Leaves of Grass (Brooklyn, NY: Walt Whitman, 1855), p. 13.
(44) William Douglas O'Connor's "The Good Gray Poet" first appeared as a free-standing pamphlet (New York: Bunce and Huntington, 1866). It was later reprinted as part of Richard Maurice Bucke's biography of Whitman, Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883).
(45) Chartier, "The Author's Hand," pp. 73-86.
(46) Benjamin Franklin, Sr. (1650-1727), Notebooks, Manuscript, American Antiquarian Society, Octavo vols. F. vol. 1, "To My Name 1713," 145.
(47) Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography, ed. Joyce E, Chaplin (New York: W. W. Norton and Co, 2012), p. 86 (my italics). See also Michael Warner, "Franklin and the Letters of the Republic," Representations 16 (Autumn 1986), 110-130, especially 121; and James N. Green and Peter Stallybrass, "The Printer as Writer," Benjamin Franklin, Printer and Writer (with James Green) (New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the British Library, 2006), 3-23.
(48) Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography... With Numerous Designs by J.G. Chapman (New York: Harper, 1848).
(49) I am deeply indebted for my thoughts about autobiography to Chris Hunter's unpublished paper, "'A New and More Perfect Edition': Reading, Editing and Publishing Autobiography in America, 1787-1850."
(50) Whitman wanted Thomas Carlyle's proof-sheets, but Carlyle's hands, cast in plaster or bronze, were a far commoner relic. The patent for the hands that Sir Joseph Edgar Boehman cast of Carlyle's hands in bronze in 1875 was sold to Domenico and Sons, who remarketed the hands in plaster. It was one of these latter plaster casts that Domenico and Sons gave to the National Portrait Gallery in 1911.
(51) The first use that I have found of the Latin "manuscriptus" dates from 1501, about fifty years after the manufacturing of printed books in Europe, and in all the earliest uses, it is used not as a word but as an adjectival phrase: "manu scriptus" or "propria manu scriptum," nearly always modifying "codex," hence, a book that has been written by hand. The earliest use of "manuscriptus" as a single word that I've unearthed so far dates from 1529: "manuscriptum exemplar... corruptum est" In England, the first use I have found of "manuscript" in a vernacular book is in 1563--and the word is still in Latin. In 1567, Thomas Stapleton not only distinguishes printed from manuscript texts but also refers to manuscripts as "M.S.": "when that [which] I alleage, is in the writen, not printed Copie, I note in the Margent: Neubrig. M.S. for: Manuscriptus." The OED gives the first use of the vernacular "manuscript" as 1597, although one can in fact find the word a decade earlier.
(52) Walt Whitman, "Bravo, Paris Exhibition ^Exposition!^," Whitman Archive ID: tex.00082, University of Texas at Austin: The Walt Whitman Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, printed slip with handwritten corrections (incorrectly catalogued as "a proof sheet"). Whitman Archive ID: loc.00058. Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 26, Folder: Bravo, Paris Exposition! (1889), printed slip with handwritten corrections (incorrectly catalogued as "a proof sheet"). Whitman Archive ID: loc.00059, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 26, Folder: Bravo, Paris Exposition! (1889), printed slip with handwritten corrections (incorrectly catalogued as "a proof sheet"). Whitman Archive ID: loc.00060, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers ofWalt Whitman, Box: 26, Folder: Bravo, Paris Exposition! (1889), printed slip with handwritten corrections (incorrectly catalogued as "a proof sheet"). Whitman Archive ID: loc.00061. Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 26, Folder: Bravo, Paris Exposition! (1889), printed slip with handwritten corrections (incorrectly catalogued as "a proof sheet").
(53) Walt Whitman, "Bravo, Paris Exhibition!" Whitman Archive ID: loc.00057, Library of Congress: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, Box: 26, Folder: Bravo, Paris Exposition! (1889). A.MS. drafts, c. 1889.
(54) My thinking on the hand as a machine is deeply indebted to Jonathan Goldberg's Writing Matter: From the Hands of the English Renaissance (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991).
University of Pennsylvania, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stallybrass, Peter. "Walt Whitman's Slips: Manufacturing Manuscript." Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 37 (2019), 66-106. https://doi.org/10.13008/0737-0679.2361
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|Publication:||Walt Whitman Quarterly Review|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2019|
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