Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Thomas W. H. Rolleston to Walt Whitman, 24 September 1882

Date: September 24, 1882

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05141

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 created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Whitman and Rolleston: A Correspondence, ed. Horst Frenz (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1951), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff. The material appears here courtesy of Indiana University Press.

Editorial note: The annotation, "'82," is in the hand of Walt Whitman.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

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Sept. 24
29 Lange Str.

Your two postcards just recd.2 Nothing further as yet, but packages sometimes take a day or two longer to get to me. Sorry you didn't receive the piece of translation—sent it with a letter a good time ago & was rather wondering I hadn't heard from you about it.3 Am working away at it with full steam up & feel that it looks promising. Will defer lecture till it is nearer completion. Rees Welsh & Co all hail! May your shadows never grow less! Will get prose book as soon as it appears.4 Will write soon as pictures arrive. Many thanks.



1. This postal card is addressed: Vereinigte Staaten | Walt Whitman | 431 Stevens Street | Camden | New Jersey | United States. It is postmarked: Dresden Altstadt | 3. | 22 9 | 82 | 6-7N | Camden, N. J. | Oct | 8 | 7 PM | Recd. [back]

2. 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). [back]

3. Apparently Whitman had misplaced the page of translations Rolleston had sent him. See the letter from Rolleston to Whitman of February 14, 1882[back]

4. The 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass published in Boston was banned by the Society for the Suppression of Vice. In May 1882, Osgood ceased publication of the edition, and Rees Welsh and Company reprinted it the same year. In addtion to Leaves of Grass, Rees Welsh and Company published Specimen Days and Collect (Philadelphia, 1882–83). It is the latter book to which Rolleston refers here and the receipt of which he acknowledges in his letter to Whitman of October 29, 1882[back]


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