WHITMAN, Walt (1819-1892). Complete Writings. New York and London: G.P. Putnam's Sons for The Knickerbocker Press, 1902.
20 volumes, 8°. WITH AN ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LEAF in Vol. I (see below), frontispieces, plates, watercolors, and lithographed general title-pages.Citron morocco, gilt fillet panels, top edges gilt, other edges uncut.
THE AUTHOR'S MANUSCRIPT EDITION, NUMBER 10 OF 32 SETS, WITH A PAGE OF MANUSCRIPT BY WHITMAN, in vol. 1 is a certification leaf signed by Jeanette Gilder. This posthumous edition was supervised by his literary executors, Horace Traubel, Richard M. Bucke and Thomas B. Harned. The executors also supplied an authorized biography of Whitman for the first volume, and Oscar Lovell Triggs contributed a bibliography and other critical apparatus for the last.
The manuscript is a leaf from Whitman’s journals, discussing a visit to see a collection of paintings by Jean-François Millet. " The page is comprised of two small slips pasted over a base sheet with earlier manuscript notes. The text reads: “at times the measured step of Cromwell’s old veterans -- in Whittier’s … that founded new zeal, the moral energy is rectitude and ardor of George Fox… Millet’s Pictures -- new suggestions, awakenings, April 16 -- Went out three or four miles to the house of Mr. Quincy A. Shaw, to see a collection of J F Millet’s pictures. Was rapt. Never before have I been so penetrated.” In the printed edition of his diary, the text continues: “I stood long and long before “the Sower.” I believe what the picture-men designate “the first Sower,” as the artist executed a second copy, and a third, and, some think, improved in each. But I doubt it. There is something in this that could hardly be caught again—a sublime murkiness and original pent fury. Besides this masterpiece, there were many others, (I shall never forget the simple evening scene, “Watering the Cow,”) all inimitable, all perfect as pictures, works of mere art; and then it seem’d to me, with that last impalpable ethic purpose from the artist (most likely unconscious to himself) which I am always looking for. To me all of them told the full story of what went before and necessitated the great French revolution…”