Theodore Rex
Edmund Morris

At 2:34 P.M. [Tuesday, 3 November, 1903], Roosevelt's special train pulled out of Jersey City for Washington. Facing six hours of travel, he remembered that Nicholas Murray Butler had asked him for a list of recommended books. It seemed like a strange request, coming from the President of Columbia University, yet deserving of a full answer. He cast his mind back over what he had rad since taking the oath of office, and began to scribble.

Parts of Herodotus; the first and seventh books of Thucydides; all of Polybius; a little of Plutarch; Aeschylus' Orestean Trilogy; Sophocles' Seven Against Thebes; Euripides' Hippolytus and Bacchae; and Aristophanes' Frogs. Parts of The Politics of Aristotle.
All of these had been in translation. However, he had read, in French, the biographies of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, Henri Turenne, and John Sobieski. He had also browsed, if not deeply studied, Froissart on French history, Maspero on the eary Syrian, Chaldean, and Egyptian civilizations, "and some six volumes of Mahaffey's Studies of the Greek World." What eslse?

The Memoirs of Marbot; Bain's Life of Charles the Twelfth; Mahan's Types of Naval Officers; some of Macaulay's Essays; three or four volumes of of Gibbon and three or four chapters of Motley. The battles in Carlyle's Frederick the Great; Hay and Nicolay's Lincoln, and the two volumes of Lincoln's Speeches and Writings- these I have not only read through, but have read parts of them again and again; Bacon's Essays. . . Macbeth; Twelfth Night; Henry the Fourth; Henry the Fifth; Richard the Second; the first two cantos of Milton's Paradise Lost; some of Michael Drayton's Poems- there are only three or four I care for; portion of the Nibelungenlied. . .

. . . Chruch's Beowulf; Morris' translation of the Heimskringla, and Saent's translation of the sagas of Gisli and Burnt Njal; Lady Gregiort's and Miss Hull's Chichulain Saga together with The Children of Lir, The Children of Turin, The Tale of Deirdre, etc.; Les Précieuses Ridicules, Le Barber de Seéville; most of Jsserand's books, of which I was most interested in his studies of Kingis Quhair; Holmes' Over the Teacups; Lonsbury's Shakespeare and Voltaire; various numbers of the Edinburgh Review from 1803 to 1850; Tolstoi's Sebastopol and The Cassocks; Sienwicz's Fire and Sword, and parts of his other volumes; Guy Mannering; The Antiquary; Rob Roy; Waverly; Qentin Durward; parts of Marmion and the Lay of the Last Minstrel; Cooper's Pilot; Some of the earlier stories and poems of Bret Harte; Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer; Penwick Papers; Nicholas Nickleby; Vanity Faire; Pendennis; The Newcomes; Adventures of Philip; Conan Doyle's White Company . . .
Roosevelt recalled plowing through Charles Lever's Charles O'Malley and some Brockden Brown novels with little real enjoyment, during the period when he was confined with his leg injury. Keats, Browning, Poe, Tennyson, Longfellow, Kipling, Bliss Carmen, Lowell, Stevenson, Allingham, and Leopold Wagner were more to his taste, and he had spent many enjoyable hours in their literary company. He had read aloud to his children ("and often finished afterwards to myself") the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, the Brother's Grimm, and Howard Pyle. As for Joel CHandler Harris, "I would be willing to rest all I have done in the South as regards to the negro in his story 'Free Joe.' "

Kenneth Grahame. Sommerville and Ross. Conrad. Artemus Ward. Octae Thanet. Viljoen. Stevens. Peer. Burroughs. Swettenham. Gray. Janvier. London. Fox. Garland. Tarkington. Churchill.Remington. Wister. White. Trevelyan . . .

By the time Roosevelt tired of jotting, he had listed 114 author names. "Of course I have forgotten a great many." His catalog did not strike him as impressive. "About as interesting," he concluded, "as Homer's Catalogue of the Ships."

from chapter 18, the Most Just and Proper Revolution, page 285.


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