In the Summer of 1935, while doing research for a Whitman paper in Library of Congress, I came across an attractive book entitled Walt Whitman, by Frederik Schyberg, published in Copenhagen, 1933. Though it had been in print for two years, during which time I had been engaged in Whitman studies, I had never heard of the book, and I could find no reviews of it in scholarly journals--though some years later I learned that Dr. Jens Nyholm had published a short notice in Books Abroad. Apparently none of the scholars in American literature could read Danish--and neither could I. But my curiosity was aroused by the chapter headings, especially the one obviously on the editions of Leaves of Grass (with its subheads on "FΦrste Udgave," "Anden Udgave," and so forth), and the final lengthy chapter on "Whitman I Verdenslitteraturen."
Promptly I ordered a copy of the book, a Danish grammar, and a Dansk-Engelsk Ordbok. When these arrived, my wife (who was equally interested) and I plunged into Danish. Fortunately for us, this language has probably the simplest grammar in the world, and the vocabulary is nearer to English than modern German is. Danish idioms, like those of almost every language, can cause trouble, but we were soon able to read enough of the book to arouse our curiosity to an even higher pitch. My wife became so absorbed in finding out just what Schyberg knew . . .