Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Rudolf Schmidt to Walt Whitman, 2 January 1874

Date: January 2, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01908

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial notes: The annotation, "Rud. Schmidt Jan. 2, '74," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see notes Dec 22 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, Kevin McMullen, Ashley Lawson, John Schwaninger, Caterina Bernardini, Cristin Noonan, Marie Ernster, Amanda J. Axley, and Stephanie Blalock

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2 January

Dear Walt Whitman,

To day the first part of the manuscript of the translation of 'Democratic Vistas"1 goes to the printer. I would not write to you before I could give you sure information.

It is a devilish hard task to translate your prose, and our ordinary translators most surely would break the neck in trying it.

I shall send you the translation in loose sheets and give the bookseller order to send you one or two complete copies.

When the book appears, I will have left Copenhagen for one or two months; I am going to Germany a little tour.

Your letters shall reach me surely, when sent to the old address: Klareboderne 16, 2.

I should be glad to hear from you. An American gentleman told me, that you were going to England? Is it true?

Rudolf Schmidt

The Danish writer Peter Carl Rudolf Schmidt (1836–1899) was the editor of the idealist journal For Idé og Virkelighed ("For Idea and Reality") and had translated Whitman's Democratic Vistas into Danish in 1874.


1. Whitman's Democratic Vistas was first published in 1871 in New York by J.S. Redfield. The volume was an eighty-four-page pamphlet based on three essays, "Democracy," "Personalism," and "Orbic Literature," all of which Whitman intended to publish in the Galaxy magazine. Only "Democracy" and "Personalism" appeared in the magazine. For more information on Democratic Vistas, see Arthur Wrobel, "Democratic Vistas [1871]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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