Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 18 December 1881

Date: December 18, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: rlc.00018

Source: The Royal Library of Copenhagen. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:257–258. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

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

431 Stevens Street
Camden New Jersey
U S America
Dec: 18 '81

My dear Rudolf Schmidt

Yours of Nov: 27 rec'd. Console yourself for suffering f'm rheumatism—for it might be paralysis—I still keep around—am much more comfortable than four years ago, but am very lame & clumsy, (yet red and stout)—

Bjornson1 did not come to see me—America you know is a big country, & he had many places to go to—I think Clemens Petersen2 is still some where in this country—very likely doing well—the last time I saw him he came up to me (personally looked well) in New York, between two & three years ago, in a crowd, & only a few words—he is a quite well known literary person & if he had died or any thing happened, I should have heard of it—

I too mourn the death of Elster3—though unknown I had formed a liking for him—I shall forward one of my books to Thorsteinsson4—Dr Bucke's book5 will not be published for some months—perhaps a year—I send you, same mail with this, a copy of my new edition6

As I write it is Sunday, just before sunset—& we have had a fine day—indeed a fine mild winter so far—have been in my room all day, writing &c, very comfortable—shall now walk to the post office, & probably sail once or twice across the river, the Delaware here, a mile wide—

The London publisher & agent for my new edition is David Bogue, St Martin's Place, Trafalgar Square—

I have heard that my book is to be translated into German, by some friends in Dresden7—also into Russian by some Russian exiles & a Mr Lee a Russ-English scholar8—I have been written to about both propositions & of course have expressed warmest assent—So good bye, my dear friend—& affectionate wishes to you & yours—

Walt Whitman


1. Björnstjerne Björnson, the Norwegian poet (see the letter from Whitman to Schmidt of December 7, 1871). [back]

2. A Danish critic who had emigrated to the U.S. (see the letter from Whitman to Schmidt of April 4, 1872). On November 27 Schmidt mentioned to Whitman that Petersen's family feared he was dead. Whitman met Petersen in New York; see the New York Tribune, March 6, 1877. [back]

3. Kristian Elster (1841–1881), a Norwegian critic (see the letter from Whitman to Schmidt of April 25, 1874), whose death Schmidt lamented on November 27: "He was a heart's ease growing in the shadow." [back]

4. Steingrimar Thorsteinsson (1831–1913), an Icelandic classical scholar and poet as well as an intimate friend of Schmidt, received a copy of Leaves of Grass on March 26, 1882; see Orbis Litterarum, 7 (1949), 58–59. [back]

5. Bucke's Walt Whitman was published in 1883. [back]

6. Whitman also sent a copy of The Literary World containing a review of recent Scandinavian books (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]

7. See the letter from Whitman to Thomas W. H. Rolleston of December 2, 1881[back]

8. See the letter from Whitman to Dr. John Fitzgerald Lee of December 20, 1881[back]


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