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Walt Whitman to Karl Knortz, 3 May 1887

Your letter rec'd & welcomed as always—My visit to N Y was a hasty flash only—I am more & more wretchedly physically disabled, & feel better off here in my own den—the "Anne Gilchrist" book2 is a wonderfully well done Vol. & interesting very to me because I knew & loved Mrs. G—but I doubt whether it contains much (or any thing) for you—I can loan you my copy if you wish—I will certainly keep you posted ab't myself, or any literary movement or change or happening of my work—

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, N.J. | May 3 | 4:30 PM | 87; P.O. | 5–3–87 | 12(?) | N.Y. [back]
  • 2. This reference is to Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist's (1857–1914) Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887) about the life of his mother Anne, one of Whitman's staunchest supporters in Great Britain. For more information on Whitman's relationship with Gilchrist, see "Gilchrist, Anne Burrows (1828–1885)." [back]
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