EdRLS

The New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson

Archive for July 2018

Stevenson’s nonsense poem

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In a previous post I suggested that the nonsense poem ‘A Legend’ in the issue of London for 3 August 1878 was by Stevenson.

This is now confirmed by the last item on Andrew Lang’s ‘At the Sign of the Ship’ column in Longman’s Magazine, 7 (Apr 1886): 664-5:

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 11.12.25

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 11.12.04

Lang gives the definition supplied by Stevenson ‘to tap hurriedly with crutches’ but the rest is his; and ‘or a stick, like the blind man, Pew, in “Treasure Island”‘ is his winking acknowledgement that he knows the identity of the author. This fits into the  custom of playful allusions to fellow writers by periodical writers at the time, perhaps especially by Andrew Lang. This is then followed by ‘This useful word, “unknown to Keats” etc.’—a mock-philological comment and quotation invented by Lang entering into the spirit of the game.

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Written by rdury

16/07/2018 at 10:36 am