If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her –

if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase – and the approbation of my Dog, would forsake me – then – My Barefoot-Rank is better –

Letter (Johnson 265) to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 7 June 1862

Here’s the confirming evidence from a pack of cyberhounds. The scent stimulus was a blogpost I once wrote about Emily Dickinson, her arousing flowers, and a woman in 1856 who read Walt Whitman with her clothes on.



The language of the Net has the power to transubstantiate silent shame into a language. Saint Francises of the comment streams, the coiners and utterers of cyberphrases like “hot nude celebrities” commune with the fauna there and enable them to speak. The dumb cyberanimals’ once secret, once unutterable shames are thenceforth the sacramental agency of a shared communion.