Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, 23 September 1883

Date: September 23, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05150

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from The Letters of Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, ed. Artem Lozynsky (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1977), 24. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

23d Sept. [188]3

Dear Walt

I have been from home for a week attending a murder trial near Montreal so your note of 13th lay waiting for me, got home day before yesterday and have gone over R's translation1 carefully, it is excellent, very literal, language very simple (as it should be) and reads (in the German) I should say fully as well as in the English. He has taken one liberty and only one—in English the last line reads "And may be just as much as the seasons." This line he translates "Und sein was die Jahreszeiten sind." Literally "And may be that which the seasons are." This change, although a little bold, does not strike me as a bad one, though I do not see why he did not read "Und sein so Viel als die Jahreszeiten sind." "And may be as much as the seasons are." However there is no doubt the translation is good and there may be (and doubtless is) a good reason for his reading of the last line. I am not a good enough German scholar to appreciate very fine shades of meaning or of language. I wish to goodness R. wd hurry up and give us a vol. of L. of G. in German, I should like immensely to see it in that dress. I wish you would speak to McKay about the circulars he was to print for me in re my vol. "W. W." (he told me you had consented to write said circular).2 I am constantly getting letters asking me about the book and a circular would be a better & more convenient answer than a letter. N. B. "Leaves of Grass" "Specimen Days & Collect" and "Man's Moral Nature" should all be mentioned in circular—also the English publishers of each of these books should be specified. [illegible] I wonder whether McKay has an English house yet for "W. W."? I wish you would have this circular got out and at least 500 copies sent me as soon as possible. We are all well here, I am up to my eyes in work, have to write my annual report in the next two weeks

Faithfully yours
R M Bucke


1. 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]

2. There is no evidence in either Whitman's Commonplace Book or in the letters that Whitman agreed to this request (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). There is, however, a publisher's advertisement for Man's Moral Nature in Walt Whitman (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1883), 240. [back]


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