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Travelling the road not taken

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About Philosophically

I think, therefore I am.

How on earth did the US, such a crass and unsophisticated land, produce such greats of Western literature?

While there is little to like about American culture, there is much to love about that nation’s greatest authors, including Ernest Hemingway, JD Salinger, John Steinbeck, Truman Capote and Harper Lee - all giants of western literature.

Poet Robert Frost.

Poet Robert Frost

The United States has also produced some great poets, including Walt Whitman and Robert Frost. While I believe none of the Americans compare with great British poets such as TS Elliot and WB Yates, Whitman and Frost are standouts, especially Frost.

Read more from Philosophically Yours: Life: How is it going for you so far?

In 1916, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Frost published his seminal poem, The Road Not Taken.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveller, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

This poem truly speaks to me, and it speaks to me even more when it is read by the great Alan Bates, as you can enjoy in this YouTube video. 

The Road not Taken - Robert Frost (by Alan Bates)


To travel the path travelled by others is the greatest sin I could possibly commit. I would view it as a waste of my life, the waste of an all-too-short stay on this earth.

Taking the path less travelled can ‘make all the difference’. A scan of their respective biographies would suggest that both Frost and Bates knew this to be so.

Ah, the wonders of literary giants emanating from the land of the sitcom Friends, unsophisticated motor cars, factory-produced hamburgers, theme parks and Donald Trump. These must have been truly great men to thrive in such an unsophisticated and crass land.

So, which literary giants take your fancy?

Which novelists, poets or playwrights capture your imagination?

Are there other artists that move you?

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