"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mark Twain

"I suppose we all have our foibles. I like the exact word, and clarity of statement, and here and there a touch of good grammar for picturesqueness" - Mark Twain

Yesterday, I had a short email discussion with a couple of 1410 posters on T.H. White's The Once & Future King, Huckleberry Finn and The Original Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Both of these gentleman are better read and certainly more intellectual than I am. It was kind of a one-sided discussion, as I have never read The Once & Future King, nor The Original Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I read Huckleberry Finn only under duress. I recall the story line as weak and it became almost unreadable near the end ... but maybe I was just getting tired by then - so much for my take on one of America's greatest novels. I like some of  Twain, particularly his pissed-off, curmudgeonly essays and Letters From the Earth, which I loaned out to Roger Van Horn and never saw again. Book thievery is a serious character flaw. I think he also made off with Heat-Moon's Blue Highways.  I'm looking forward to reading Twain's unedited autobiography. It's hard not to anticipate reading something so volatile that it has been held in bondage for 100 years.


Anonymous said...

ok, look, I didn't read the thread on these books, but I can tell you without any hesitation or doubt in my voice--and this is me as writer as well as PhD in English, that Huck Finn is the great American novel. It's only possible peer is Moby Dick. I understand what you're saying about the end. But believe me: this is the book that Faulkner, Hemingway, and all the others worshipped; Twain was their daddy.


Gunnar Berg said...

I absolutely believe everything you're saying. It is my short coming, my limited vision, not Twains, or anyone else's.

My old friends are are not like myself. They are some seriously bookish people - a motley crew with some English PhDs too - readers, writers, and teachers of people who wish they were. The offline thread has continued, with Mary (Iowa Writers Workshop Mary) suggesting that the whole world has to read The Brothers Karamazov every ten years. Yeah, right.
I'm taking a pass 'cause I'm already 30 or 40 years behind. And it's thick. And that Moby Dick, he's a white whale of a book he is. Once, under threats and duress. No more.

Silk Hope said...

Com'on guys the greatest American writers go in this order.

Will Rogers
Casey Stengal
Yogi Berra

It ain't over till it's over baby.

I'm no PhD and I don't hang with serious bookish folk. But this is who I would be having a couple of Hamms with. Check that since there are Yankees in this it would Schaefers beer.


Gunnar Berg said...

I sure don't try to hang out with bookish sorts, it's just the way my friends grew up. They were just jerk-offs that got educated. Educated jerk-offs.

Your list is frickin' bizarre. Two of them never wrote anything and one of them, Yogi Berra, was a product of his ghost writer, Joe Garagiola.

Hamm's may be "From the Land of Sky Blue Waters", but it hasn't been available here for 30 years or more. It was banished for making bad beer. Eventually someone bought the name. I have no idea what the "new" Hamm's tastes like. I defer to you West Coasters.

Silk Hope said...

As we in the Barrio "man I was pushing your leg"

No hamms down here either. Must be a Nor Cal thing so I defer to the Rev.

I am an IPA guy.

Garagiola and Berra: Same Neighbor hood. Dego hills of St. Louis.

reverend dick said...

It's $11.99 A CASE, is what it is. And, plus it stands up swinging with any other major breweries' canned beer. BAM!

I enjoyed Huck Finn, and Tom Sawyer- but it's mostly cuz I like Muff Potter so much...