Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 7 December 1871

Date: December 7, 1871

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:143–144. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The Royal Library of Copenhagen

Whitman Archive ID: rlc.00002

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad




Department of Justice
Washington
Dec. 7 1871

Rudolf Schmidt,1
Dear Sir:

I have received, (through Mr. Clausen)2 your letter of 19th October, from Kopenhagen—& I cheerfully forward you my poems "Leaves of Grass," & a small prose work of mine, "Democratic Vistas." I also enclose several articles & criticisms written about my books in England & America within the last ten years.

May I say, there is something about your letter & application that has deeply pleased me. I should like to know your country & people—& especially you yourself, & your poet Björnson3—and Hans Andersen. How proud I should be to become known to you all.

Pray let me hear from you—and if the books & papers reach you safely.

Please accept my best, brotherly good will.

Any thing by mail will reach me addressed


Walt Whitman
Washington, D. C.
U. S. of America


Notes:

1. Schmidt, editor of For Idé og Virkelighed, wrote to Walt Whitman on October 19, 1871, "I intend to write an article about yourself and your writings in the above named periodical which is very much read in all the Scandinavian countries.…I therefore take the liberty to ask you, if you should not be willing to afford some new communications of yourself and your poetry to this purpose" (Library of Congress). [back]

2. Carl F. Clausen, termed in Schmidt's letter "my old friend and countryman," corresponded with Schmidt after he left Denmark in 1860; see Carl Roos, "Walt Whitman's Letters to a Danish Friend," Orbis Litterarum, 7 (1949), 34–39. The city directory in 1870 listed him as a draughtsman and in 1872 as a patent agent. He died of consumption in the middle 1870s; see Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #108. [back]

3. Björnstjerne Björnson (1832–1910), Norwegian poet, dramatist, and novelist, was co-editor of Schmidt's journal. In his reply on January 5, 1872, Schmidt observed: "Hans Christian Andersen would perhaps not make you very great joy, if you did know him personally. Björnson would be your man." Schmidt later altered his opinion of Björnson; see notes to Whitman's March 19, 1874 letter to Schmidt. [back]


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