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Original Autograph Letter, Signed, to Charles Warren Stoddard, with an Inscribed Portrait Photograph].
Philadelphia. 20 January 1908. - Two pages, on recto and verso of quarto lettersheet. Accompanied by a 6 5/8 x 4 5/8" original portrait photograph, inscribed, and by the original envelope (with the Walt Whitman Fellowship return address), addressed in Traubel's hand (To Charles Warren Stoddard. Monterey, California"). Letter a bit fragile, with breaks towards the ends of a couple of the folds, but very good. Photograph about fine. An effusive and frank letter from Traubel (1858-1919), Whitman's Boswell, literary critic and progressive editor, to Charles W. Stoddard (1843-1909), California poet, travel writer and proponent of male-male relationships, then living in Monterey and entering into his final days. Traubel writes: "My love goes across the continent to you. My heart answers all your thrilling salutations. You never seem far off except in miles. In love you are my next door neighbor. In love you anoint my ribs. I am worked hard throughout the [sic] most of the twenty four hours of each day . I must set most of the type on my own paper [likely referring to THE CONSERVATOR]. This as you see leaves me little leisure in which to frolic. But my friends, my lovers attend me in my work. In that way, in the sacred quiet of this room, you visit me & we talk face to face. Remember anything else you must about me but do not forget this. Love again and again, dear Kinsman. Horace Traubel." Stoddard, intrigued by the Calamus themes in Whitman's poems, had written him as early as 1867, and in an 1869 letter, written from Hawaii, had detailed his affectionate encounters with a young Hawaiian man. Traubel read Whitman Stoddard's letter on that occasion, and recorded his response in WITH WALT WHITMAN IN CAMDEN. As an advocate of Whitman's views on comradeship, Traubel is known to have engaged in relationships with members of both sexes, intellectually and physically (albeit the latter somewhat discretely), and the demonstrative nature of this letter is indicative of at least a measure of comradely affection, if not more, on the part of Traubel toward Stoddard. The photograph, which is inscribed on the verso by Traubel to Stoddard ("To Charles Warren Stoddard / with love's right hand, Horace Traubel"), is also captioned by him: "Photo by Paul Fournier. 1907." Fournier (1888-1961) was a photographer and at one time a member of the arts and crafts community, the Roycrofters. Fournier and his wife, Rosalie, left the Roycrofters in 1906, and split their time between Philadelphia and New York, keeping close company with Traubel who, recent scholarship suggests, may have been the father of their child (Marilyn McKay, "Walt Whitman in Canada: The Sexual Trinity of Horace Traubel and Frank and Mildred Bain," WALT WHITMAN QUARTERLY REVIEW, XXX:1, 2012). The portrait is much in the manner of, and perhaps originates from the same sitting as, a photographic portrait of Traubel in the collections of the Lilly Library, and included ("undated, photographer unknown") in the online exhibit, WALT WHITMAN AT THE LILLY.
      [Bookseller: William Reese Company - Literature, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2015-03-06           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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