The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

I. Whitman.

§ 14. Foreign Reputation.

Just when Whitman was beginning to make literary friends abroad—Rudolf Schmidt in Denmark, Freiligrath in Germany, Madame Blanc in France, Edward Dowden in Ireland, and in England William Rossetti, Swinburne, 16  Robert Buchanan, Roden Noel, John Addington Symonds, Tennyson, and Anne Gilchrist—and when he was beginning to become somewhat favourably known abroad through Rossetti’s expurgated selection, Poems by Walt Whitman (1868), and through fragmentary translations in Continental countries, an attack of paralysis (January, 1873) compelled him first to suspend and finally to give up his clerical work. Taking his savings, enough to tide him over the first few years of invalidism, he went to live with his brother, Colonel George Whitman, in Camden, New Jersey. A leisurely trip to Colorado in 1879, a longer one to Canada in the following year, and various briefer visits and lecture journeys—now to New York, now to visit his friend Burroughs at his home on the Hudson, now to his own Long Island birthplace, but oftenest to recuperate and to write charming nature descriptions at his retreat on Timber Creek—except for these furloughs Whitman was to spend the remainder of his days, and to be buried, in Camden. In March, 1884, he bought a little house (328 Mickle Street, now 33) with the proceeds from the very successful Philadelphia edition of the Leaves in 1882.   19

Note 16. Swinburne, who had in Songs before Sunrise hailed Whitman as a new force in literature, considerably retracted his praise in later publications. [ back ]