Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Thomas W. Rolleston to Walt Whitman, 2 February 1889

Date: February 2, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03566

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.

Contributors to digital file: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Alex Ashland, and Stephanie Blalock



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Feb. 2nd

The big book1 with its kind inscription arrived today—I like much the 1 volume plan.2 Its a book one can walk about in, as in a great land, & see things of inexhaustible meaning and promise—And time for this line now, to acknowledge—

Ever yrs
T. W. Rolleston


Correspondent:
Thomas William Hazen Rolleston (1857–1920) was an Irish poet and journalist. After attending college in Dublin, he moved to Germany for a period of time. He wrote to Whitman frequently, beginning in 1880, and later produced with Karl Knortz the first book-length translation of Whitman's poetry into German. In 1889, the collection Grashalme: Gedichte [Leaves of Grass: Poems] was published by Verlags-Magazin in Zurich, Switzerland. See Walter Grünzweig, Constructing the German Walt Whitman (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1995). For more information on Rolleston, see Walter Grünzweig, "Rolleston, Thomas William Hazen (1857–1920)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

Notes:

1. Whitman's Complete Poems & Prose (1888), a volume Whitman often referred to as the "big book," was published by Philadelphia publisher David McKay in December 1888. With the help of Horace Traubel, he made the presswork and binding decisions for the volume. Frederick Oldach bound the book, which included a profile photo of the poet on the title page. For more information on the book, see Ed Folsom's Whitman Making Books/Books Making Whitman: A Catalog and Commentary. [back]

2. Horace Traubel records Whitman's first reactions to the new book in Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Wednesday, January 23, 1889. Also, on January 23, 1889, Whitman wrote to Bucke: "a handsome substantial volume—not that I am overwhelmed or even entirely satisfied by it, but as I had not put my calculations high & was even expecting to be disappointed, I shall accept it." [back]


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