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Walt Whitman to Thomas W. H. Rolleston, 9 October 1885

 loc_vm.01689_large.jpg Dear friend

I have rec'd​ this from Dr Knortz1 & send you—although he has of course notified you to same effect—I am still living here in my own little house, & keep up fair spirits—but get around with great difficulty, (or rather I should say hardly at all) & have been stricken in my eyes, which makes me partially blind & growing worse.—Some friends have presented me with a horse & wagon—so I get out a little every day—a young friend drives for me—I receive the University Magazine,2 & thank you—I shall send you anything I write—(if there should be anything)—or whatever might interest you

Love to you & yours— Walt Whitman

I have sent L of G​ to Schabelitz

My dear Sir;

The translations of your poems are now ready for the printer and the MS will sail for Europe on Saturday next. You will receive a copy of the book in due time.

J. Schabelitz, of Zürich, Switzerland, is the publisher. I wish you would send him a copy of the "Leaves of Grass," as he reads English.

Yours very truly Karl Knortz Walt Whitman 328 Mickle St.3

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).


  • 1. 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). [back]
  • 2. Rolleston's editorship of the Dublin University Review only lasted from May to December of 1885. [back]
  • 3. This letter from Knortz was received by Whitman in September 1885. [back]
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