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Karl Knortz to Walt Whitman, [late September or early October 1885]

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.1 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.2

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. Thomas W. H. Rolleston's translation of selections from Whitman was revised by Knortz and published as Grashalme: Gedichte (Zurich: Verlags-Magazin, 1889). [back]
  • 2. See the previous letter from Knortz to Whitman of September 1885. Whitman wrote a note on the back of this letter and sent it to Rolleston on October 9, 1885. [back]
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