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John Fitzgerald Lee to Walt Whitman, 28 November 1881

Dear Sir.

Through the kindness of one who I am proud to call a friend, and a Countryman of mine, I have an opportunity of writing to you, whose sentiments I agree with and whose works I admire. Mr. Rolleston and a Mr. Wilkins,2 two students of Trinity College, Dublin, were the first to draw my attention to your poetical works, of which I wish to say a few words. I am an ardent student of the Russian Language, and greatly interested in the huge country and its strange people and history. Your book is the book for them. Will you allow me to translate the "Leaves of Grass" into Russian.3 It will do good, of that I am perfectly sure. I know the Russian character, and say again that the "Leaves of Grass" is the book for them. Awaiting the favour of a reply

I am, dear Sir, Your sincerely, J. Fitzgerald Lee4


  • 1. This letter is endorsed (by Whitman): "Dec 20 '81 Russian translation answered." It is addressed: Bismarckplatz 10 I. | Dresden | Germany. It is postmarked: Dresden | 14. | 28/11 | 81 | 4-5N. | New York | Dec | 16 | A | Paid | K | All | Camden, N. J. | Dec | 17 | 7 am | Recd. Lee probably obtained Whitman's address from Thomas W. H. Rolleston, who occasionally misspelled Stevens Street. See the letter from Rolleston to Whitman of November 28, 1881. [back]
  • 2. William Wilkins was a fellow student of Rolleston and a frequent contributor to Kottabos. He entered Trinity College in 1873 at the age of twenty-one and received the B.A. degree in 1878 and the M.A. in 1881. [back]
  • 3. See Whitman's response to Lee's letter on December 20, 1881. [back]
  • 4. The Trinity College records reveal that John Fitzgerald Lee, born in County Galway, entered the College in 1878 at the age of twenty-one and received his B.A. degree in 1886. [back]
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