Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Karl Knortz, 27 April 1885

Date: April 27, 1885

Whitman Archive ID: uva.00478

Source: Papers of Walt Whitman (MSS 3829), Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, Albert H. Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:389–390. 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 and Kyle Barton

328 Mickle Street
Camden New Jersey1
April 27 '85

My dear Dr Knortz

What is now the status of the Rolleston translation, with reference to publication?2 I have seen your letter of some weeks since to Dr Bucke—tell me of any thing new—or probabilities. I particularly hope it is intended to give the English text of the pieces, either on the left-hand page or running in smaller type at the bottom of every page & forming one third—

If you have some loose sheets (last proofs, or what not) of your new "Representative German Poems,"3 send me three or four pages. (I dont want the book, but just want to see how it is made up, paged & printed)—My health is about as usual, except a worse lameness—

Walt Whitman

Karl Knortz (1841–1918) was born in Prussia and came to the U.S. in 1863. He was the author of many books and articles on German-American affairs and was superintendent of German instruction in Evansville, Ind., from 1892 to 1905. See The American-German Review 13 (December 1946), 27–30. His first published criticism of Whitman appeared in the New York Staats-Zeitung Sonntagsblatt on December 17, 1882, and he worked with Thomas W. H. Rolleston on the first book-length translation of Whitman's poetry, published as Grashalme in 1889. For more information about Knortz, see Walter Grünzweig, "Knortz, Karl (1841–1918)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. This letter is addressed: Dr Karl Knortz | 540 East 155th Street | New York City. It is postmarked: Camden | Apr | 27(?) | 2(?) | 1885 | N.J. [back]

2. See the letters from Whitman to T. W. H. Rolleston, September 20, 1884, and to Knortz, September 10, 1885. Rollestion wrote to Whitman about Knortz's revision of his manuscript on February 11. [back]

3. Representative German Poems: Ballad and Lyrical apparently was not published until 1889. [back]


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