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GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson 
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Post GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson
Embedded within the dedicatory poem which opens TMWWT are tributes to Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson. Some of the more literary oriented of you may have picked up on those references already, but for those of us less well-read there is a feeling of familiarity without exact recognition and, in some cases a feeling of being foreign as well. In a few places in the full book, that familiarity/foreignness creates a feeling of cognitive dissonance; perhaps not as intense as das unheimliche but strong enough to cause irritation. I experienced this during the chase through London and became so irritated with that portion of TMWWT that I decided I hated it by the end of my first reading.

I have provided a link to an essay about Whitman and Stevenson, authors whom GKC admired greatly. I hope you will take few minutes to read it. It is very interesting and I believe it will help your appreciation of the book.

Here is a portion of that essay.

"Who are the giants? Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson! Chesterton tells readers, after referring to the giants who “labored in that cloud,” that a certain book prompts his memories of those bygone days. Perhaps this poem and The Man Who Was Thursday, the book for which the poem serves as the dedication, were both inspired by the memories that that other book evoked as Chesterton held it in his hands. That other book, the book Chesterton and Bentley had found as boys, is Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. Chesterton’s poem contains an overt mention of “leaves of grass” in line twenty-four. Moreover, the reference to “fish-shaped Paumanok,” in line twenty-two is an unmistakable reference to Whitman. That great American poet wrote an autobiographical poem entitled “Starting from Paumanok,” and the name Paumanok is a reference to Whitman’s birthplace."

Thank you.

GKC Witman and RLStevenson


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Suzanne
Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:38 am
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Post Re: GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson
I already mentioned Walt Whitman and Leaves of Grass as being referenced in the dedication of TMWWT. I also mentioned RL Stevenson. Here is a poem by Stevenson. See if you can find the homage to this poem in Chesterton's dedication?

The Land of Counterpane

When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.

And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.

I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.


Robert Louis Stevenson


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Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:00 am
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Post Re: GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson
I noticed the Whitman in the poem. I also wondering if he is the "old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat in Ch. 1



Fri Mar 01, 2013 5:31 pm
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Post Re: GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson
lindad_amato wrote:
I noticed the Whitman in the poem. I also wondering if he is the "old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat in Ch. 1


I suspect that there are many inside 'jokes' crafted into TMWWT. I have only a nodding acquaintance of Walt Whitman. What is your take on it?


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Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:21 pm
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Post Re: GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson
stahrwe wrote:
lindad_amato wrote:
I noticed the Whitman in the poem. I also wondering if he is the "old gentleman with the wild, white beard and the wild, white hat in Ch. 1


I suspect that there are many inside 'jokes' crafted into TMWWT. I have only a nodding acquaintance of Walt Whitman. What is your take on it?


I'm only up to ch 4 so I'm not sure if the Whitman references carry throughout the book. However, GKC did mention "leaves of grass" in his intro. and then again there was the "old gentleman" reference in Ch1. Possibly he's just paying a compliment to Whitman. I'll see if I notice anything else further on.



Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:52 am
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Post Re: GKC Walt Whitman and Robert Louis Stevenson
Thank you and please let us know. Chesterton did admire Whitman.


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Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:47 am
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