Whitman and Rolleston: A Correspondence

By Horst Frenz | Go to book overview

XXV
WHITMAN TO ROLLESTON

This is a reconstructed version of a portion of a letter by Whitman to Rolleston. It appears in W. S. Kennedy The Fight of a Book for the World (West Yarmouth, Mass., 1926),p. 249.

[ April, 1884.]1

[I approve of your attempt to translate certain of my poems into the German tongue. Indeed, arrogant as the statement may seem, I had more than my own native land in view when I was composing Leaves of Grass. I wished to take the first step toward calling into existence a cycle of international poems. The chief reason for being of the United States of America is to bring about the common good will of all mankind, the solidarity of the world. What is still lacking in this respect can perhaps be accomplished by the art of poetry, through songs radiating from all the lands of the globe. I had also in mind, as one of my objects, to send a hearty greeting to these lands in America's name. And glad, very glad, should I be to gain entrance and audience among the Germanic peoples.]2

____________________
1
The letter containing this passage must have been written before May 5, 1884, the date of Rolleston's letter to Whitman acknowledging receipt of Whitman's dedication.
2
Rolleston's translation of the original version of this passage appears on p. xii of Grashalme ( Zürich, 1889):

"Ich billige Ihren Versuch, einige meiner Gedichte in deutscher Sprache wiederzugeben. Ich hatte in der That, so übermüthig die Aeusserung auch klingen mag, nicht nur mein eigenes Vaterland im Auge, als ich jenes Werk verfaßte. Ich wollte den ersten Schritt thun, um einen Cyclus internationaler Gedichte in's Leben zu rufen. Das

-89-

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Whitman and Rolleston: A Correspondence
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Contents 3
  • I - Rolleston to Whitman 15
  • II - Rolleston to Whitman 19
  • III - Rolleston to Whitman 21
  • IV - Rolleston to Whitman 25
  • V - Rolleston to Whitman 28
  • VI - Rolleston to Whitman 30
  • VII - Rolleston to Whitman 35
  • VIII - Rolleston to Whitman 38
  • IX - Rolleston to Whitman 43
  • X - Lee to Whitman 48
  • XI - Whitman to Rolleston 51
  • XII - Whitman to Rolleston 52
  • XIII - Rolleston to Whitman 54
  • XIV - Rolleston to Whitman 56
  • XV - Rolleston to Whitman 61
  • XVI - Rolleston to Whitman 64
  • XVII - Rolleston to Whitman 67
  • XVIII - Rolleston to Whitman 69
  • XIX - Whitman to Rolleston 71
  • XX - Rolleston to Whitman 73
  • XXI - Rolleston to Whitman 77
  • XXII - Rolleston to Whitman 80
  • XXIII - Rolleston to Whitman 83
  • XXIV - Rolleston to Whitman 87
  • XXV - Whitman to Rolleston 89
  • XXVI - Rolleston to Whitman 90
  • XXVII - Whitman to Rolleston 92
  • XXVIII - Rolleston to Whitman 94
  • XXIX - Whitman to Rolleston 98
  • XXX - Rolleston to Whitman 99
  • XXXI - Rolleston to Whitman 101
  • XXXII - Whitman to Rolleston 104
  • Appendices 107
  • Index 131
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