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Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 27 January 1876

My dear Rudolf Schmidt1

It is now some time since I have written to you, or heard any thing from you.2 I still remain here laid up unwell from my paralysis—but keep much the same—no worse. I enclose you some slips—those relating to myself, (which tell their own story) because I know you will be interested in any thing about me3—and the humorous pieces because I remember you are curious about American dialect & fun literature.4

As I write, it is a dark, rainy, muddy day. I am to recite a piece tonight for the benefit of the poor fund5—it will be printed in the paper, & I will send it to you. I tell you this partly to show you I still take some part in affairs, though I am badly shattered & old.

Remember your letters are always welcome to me.

Walt Whitman


  • 1. Rudolf Schmidt, a Dane and editor of For Idé og Virkelighed, is credited with introducing Walt Whitman to Scandinavia by quoting translated passages from Leaves of Grass in an 1872 essay in his magazine. He wrote to Walt Whitman on October 19, 1871: "I intend to write an article about yourself and your writings in the above named periodical which is very much read in all the Scandinavian countries. ... I therefore take the liberty to ask you, if you should not be willing to afford some new communications of yourself and your poetry to this purpose" (The Library of Congress). [back]
  • 2. Walt Whitman had written on July 31, 1875. [back]
  • 3. Undoubtedly the articles in the Springfield Republican and the West Jersey Press; see Whitman's January 26, 1876 letter to William Michael Rossetti. [back]
  • 4. See Whitman's March 4, 1874 letter to Schmidt. [back]
  • 5. On this occasion Walt Whitman read Schiller's "The Diver" (Clifton Joseph Furness, Walt Whitman's Workshop 1928, 205). The program for the "Musical—Literary Entertainment, under the auspices of the Walt Whitman Debating Club of Camden, N.J.," is in the Oscar Lion Collection, New York Public Library. [back]
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