Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Karl Knortz to Walt Whitman, 14 April 1889

Date: April 14, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03192

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.

Notes for this letter were derived from The Letters of Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, ed. Artem Lozynsky (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1977), and supplemented, updated, or created by Whitman Archive staff as appropriate.

Contributors to digital file: Kirby Little, Caterina Bernardini, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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540 E. 155th [In?] New York1

Dear W.:

The letter, you sent me, was from your French admirer Sarrazin,2 who will soon publish an essay on L. o. G. in one of his books. Of the 'Grashalme'3 I, so far, rec'd only one copy, but expect some more. I hope, the book will be received favorably by the critics.

Yours ty
Karl Knortz

Karl Knortz (1841–1918) was born in Prussia and came to the U.S. in 1863. He was the author of many books and articles on German-American affairs and was superintendent of German instruction in Evansville, Ind., from 1892 to 1905. See The American-German Review 13 (December 1946), 27–30. His first published criticism of Whitman appeared in the New York Staats-Zeitung Sonntagsblatt on December 17, 1882, and he worked with Thomas W. H. Rolleston on the first book-length translation of Whitman's poetry, published as Grashalme in 1889. For more information about Knortz, see Walter Grünzweig, "Knortz, Karl (1841–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This postal card is addressed: Walt Whitman, | Camden | New Jersey. It is postmarked: NEW YORK | APRIL 14 | 6PM | R; N.Y. | 4-14-89 | 89; CAMDEN, N. J. | APR | 15 | 6AM | 1889 | REC'D. [back]

2. Gabriel Sarrazin (1853–1935) was a translator and poet from France who commented positively not only on Whitman's work but also on Poe's. Whitman later corresponded with Sarrazin and apparently liked the critic's work on Leaves of Grass—Whitman even had Sarrazin's chapter on his book translated twice. For more on Sarrazin, see Carmine Sarracino, "Sarrazin, Gabriel (1853–1935)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. Thomas W. H. Rolleston's translation of selections from Whitman was revised by Dr. Karl Knortz and published as Grashalme: Gedichte (Zurich: Verlags-Magazin, 1889). [back]


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