In My Mortal Enemy, Nellie Birdseye reminds Myra Henshawe that she likes Walt Whitman. Myra calls him a "dirty old man."
In an 1896 Journal article Cather writes: "His Leaves of Grass is a sort of dictionary of the English language, and in it is the name of everything in creation set down with great reverence but without any particular connection. But however ridiculous Whitman may be there is a primitive elemental force about him... If a joyous elephant should break forth into song, his lay would probably be very much like Whitman's famous 'Song of Myself'"; Cather quotes from the 1891-2 edition of "Song of Myself."