Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Edward Bertz to Walt Whitman, 16 June 1889

Date: June 16, 1889

Whitman Archive ID: med.00877

Source: The location of this manuscript is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from With Walt Whitman in Camden, ed. Horace Traubel (Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1964), 5:330—331. 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, Caterina Bernardini, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock





Dear Sir,
Dear Poet, Friend, and Master,

To celebrate your seventieth birthday, I your grateful and devoted admirer, have written some words of sympathy and congratulation, and published them in the issue of June 2nd of the paper I am editing just now, viz. the 'Deutsche Presse,' the official organ of the league of German authors (Deutschen Schriftsteller-Verband).1 I trust I may be able some day to devote to you and your work a serious essay better suited to do justice to your genius than was possible in that aphoristic article. However, those few lines will at least serve as an unambiguous testimony of my deep and true devotion to you, and as it may give you pleasure to hear of an unknown German friend of yours, I take the liberty to send you that birthday paper, hoping you will look upon it in kind and indulgent eyes.2

Ever yours sincerely and affectionately
Edward Bertz


Correspondent:
Edward Bertz (1853–1931), also spelled "Eduard," was a German writer and translator from Potsdam, who became involved with social democracy movements and signed a petition against the criminalization of homosexuality in Germany. For more information on Bertz, see Grünzweig, Walter, "Bertz, Eduard (1853–1931)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland, 1998).

Notes:

1. Bertz published an article in the Deutsche Presse of June 2, 1889 (Amelia von Ende, "Whitman and the Germans of Today," The Conservator No. 4 [June 1907], 55–57). A holograph copy of the article, with corrections by Whitman (June 1889) is part of the Charles E. Feinberg Collection, held by the Library of Congress. [back]

2. Whitman discussed the letter and Bertz's article with Horace Traubel, remarking, "It is interesting to me to know what they think of us way over there. It comes from Berlin, which is a center, I suppose, an important center" (Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, June 28, 1889). [back]


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