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Table of contents
PREFACE
INTRODUCTION-1.1
INTRODUCTION-1.2
INTRODUCTION-1.3
INTRODUCTION-1.4
INTRODUCTION-1.5
INTRODUCTION-1.6
INTRODUCTION-1.7
FOOTNOTES-1
FOOTNOTES-2
THE STUDY OF SEXUAL INVERSION
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN MEN-3
HISTORY-1-2-3-4
HISTORY-5
HISTORY-6
HISTORY-7-8
HISTORY-9
HISTORY-10-11-12
HISTORY-13-14
HISTORY-15
HISTORY-16-17-18-19
HISTORY-20
HISTORY-21 (begin)
HISTORY-21 (end)
HISTORY-22-23-24
HISTORY-25
HISTORY-26
HISTORY-27
HISTORY-28-29-30-31-32
HISTORY-33
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-1
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-2
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-3
SEXUAL INVERSION IN WOMEN-4
HISTORY-34-35-36-37
HISTORY-38
HISTORY-39.1
HISTORY-39.2
HISTORY-39.3
HISTORY-39.4
FOOTNOTES
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
THE NATURE OF SEXUAL INVERSION-4
FOOTNOTES
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-1
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-2
THE THEORY OF SEXUAL INVERSION-3
CONCLUSIONS-1
CONCLUSIONS-2
CONCLUSIONS-3
CONCLUSIONS-4
FOOTNOTES
APPENDIX A
APPENDIX B-1
APPENDIX B-2-3-4
INDEX OF AUTHORS

or four reasons:-- 

 

"1. That it is difficult to reconcile the letter itself (with its 

strong tone of disapprobation) with the general 'atmosphere' of 

_Leaves of Grass_, the tenor of which is to leave everything open 

and free. 

 

"2. That the letter is in hopeless conflict with the 'Calamus' 

section of poems. For, whatever moral lines Whitman may have 

drawn at the time of writing these poems, it seems to me quite 

incredible that the possibility of certain inferences, morbid or 

other, was undreamed of. 

 

"3. That the letter was written only a few months before his last 

illness and death, and is the only expression of the kind that he 

appears to have given utterance to. 

 

"4. That Symonds's letter, to which this was a reply, is not 

forth coming; and we consequently do not know what rash 

expressions it may have contained--leading Whitman (with his 

extreme caution) to hedge his name from possible use to justify 

dubious practices." 

 

I may add that I endeavored to obtain Symonds's letter, but he 

was unable to produce it, nor has any copy of it been found among 

his papers. 

 

It should be said that Whitman's attitude toward Symonds was 

marked by high regard and admiration. "A wonderful man is 

Addington Symonds," he remarked shortly before his own death; 

"some ways the most indicative and penetrating and significant 

man of our time. Symonds is a curious fellow; I love him dearly. 

He is of college breed and education, horribly literary and 

suspicious, and enjoys things. A great fellow for delving into 

persons and into the concrete, and even into the physiological 

and the gastric, and wonderfully cute." But on this occasion he 

delved in vain. 

 

The foregoing remarks (substantially contained in the previous 

editions of this book) were based mainly on the information 

received from J.A. Symonds's side. But of more recent years 

interesting light has been thrown on this remarkable letter from 

Walt Whitman's side. The Boswellian patience, enthusiasm, and 

skill which Horace Traubel has brought to his full and elaborate 

work, now in course of publication, _With Walt Whitman in 

Camden_, clearly reveal, in the course of various conversations, 

Whitman's attitude to Symonds's question and the state of mind 

which led up to this letter. 

 

Whitman talked to Traubel much about Symonds from the 

twenty-seventh of April, 1888 (very soon after the date when 

Traubel's work begins), onward. Symonds had written to him 

repeatedly, it seems, concerning the "passional relations of men 

with men," as Whitman expressed it. "He is always driving at me 

about that: is that what Calamus means?--because of me or in 

spite of me, is that what it means? I have said no, but no does 

not satisfy him. [There is, however, no record from Symonds's 

side of any letter by Whitman to Symonds in this sense up to this 

date.] But read this letter--read the whole of it: it is very 

shrewd, very cute, in deadliest earnest: it drives me hard, 

almost compels me--it is urgent, persistent: he sort of stands in 

the road and says 'I won't move till you answer my question.' You 

see, this is an old letter--sixteen years old--and he is still 

asking the question: he refers to it in one of his latest notes. 

He is surely a wonderful man--a rare, cleaned-up man--a 

white-souled, heroic character.... You will be writing something 

about Calamus some day," said W. [to Traubel], "and this letter, 

and what I say, may help to clear your ideas. Calamus needs clear 

ideas; it may be easily, innocently distorted from its natural, 

its motive, body of doctrine." 

 

The letter, dated Feb. 7, 1872, of some length, is then 

reproduced. It tells how much _Leaves of Grass_, and especially 

the Calamus section, had helped the writer. "What the love of man 

for man has been in the past," Symonds wrote, "I think I know. 

What it is here now, I know also--alas! What you say it can and 

should be I dimly discern in your Poems. But this hardly 

satisfies me--so desirous am I of learning what you teach. Some 


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