Tue, 4 Apr 2006 16:17:13 -0500
Twain wrote a stirring tribute to Walt Whitman--titled "To Walt Whitman," it
is a stirring, patriotic commemoration of the aging poet first published in
1889. It is conveniently reproduced in the Library of America collection
ed. By Louis Budd, volume II, p. 940.
One of the odd things about it, by the way, is the fact that Twain in truth
seemed to think very little of the gray poet, in private at least. The
letter is fun to read because it is Twain sounding a lot like Whitman. I
wonder why he felt compelled to write a tribute to a poet about whom he had
very strong reservations? There's an article in there; maybe Jerome Loving
can tell us.
By the way, Twain once wrote a parody of Wordsworth, which also sounds a bit
like the poet. I would have to track that one down; it is buried in a file
somewhere--I think from his Missouri youth, or maybe Iowa. Hardly anyone
knows about that one--it is another of those articles hidden in my file
cabinet waiting to be written, that will in fact probably never actually get
Dr. Harold K. Bush, Jr.
Saint Louis University