"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare."

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Announcing The Oxford Mark Twain!

Exciting news this week for Twainians! Oxford University Press has announced the publication of The Oxford Mark Twain, the 29-volume centennial paperback set, edited by Shelley Fisher Fishkin.

In addition to gathering together most of the writings ever published by Twain in the U.S., the set features forewords from literary luminaries such as Kurt Vonnegut, E. L. Doctorow, Toni Morrison, and Ursula Le Guin, as well as context-providing afterwords by noteworthy Twain scholars.

At the heart of each volume is a facsimile edition of Twain's original, which captures its contemporary flavor. Many include original illustrations which suggest the life and times of the books in a way that other editions cannot. This is a remarkable offering for Twain completists everywhere.

3 comments:

Gene said...

Looks like a great set!

Gene aka TwainToday

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that he had so many books.

Howell said...

I couldn't help but notice how boring Mark Twain's life was in "The Complete Short Stories of Mark Twain." His scatterbrained stories have no meaning or reason behind them. He simply wrote for the sake of writing. He was a content provider much the same as today's stenographers write because their editors tell them to. He had no cause behind his writing. He did things in life simply to make a living--not because of any role or purpose, not because of the need or desire to change our world for the better.

Mark Twain will go down in history with Garrison Keillor as one who wrote for the sake of giving people something to read. Neither Twain nor Keillor wrote for the sake of raising a critical conscious, or telling truthful stories that normal people can relate to in their working-class lives. Keillor is the modern-day Mark Twain--he's neither a useful nor productive member of today's literary society. Like Twain, Keillor writes and talks for the sake of entertaining, and nothing else.

Mark Twain mixed fiction and non-fiction to the point where it was obvious that the story he was writing about obviously didn't happen, nor was it even exciting to read about simply because of how fake the scenarios were. For instance, it's not entertaining at all that he sat calmly in his editor's office when a figurative shootout occurs between his editor and a disgruntled reader. I don't even feel like i'm sitting there in the office with them, it's so fake! This so-called "thread" lacked any smooth literary transition or entertaining value.

His ancient writing style was difficult to understand and relate to with the use of 'thus' and other obfuscating language that's dead for a reason: it originates in the 19th century. Mark Twain was way behind his time and his literary abilities for someone living in the 20th century. He lacked any foresight into what him or his society's future would behold. Nor did he care.

As a literary buffoon, Twain used nouns and adjectives where they didn't make any sense--purely for the sake of adding content, or trying to sound smart and articulate.

Mark Twain is the kind of boring writer that my teachers tried to push down my throat in middle school and high school. If there's any way to learn about the way people lived back then, reading Twain is not it. If there's a literary icon or role model for the 19th century, Mark Twain is not the one.

Only someone as boring as Mark Twain would think that rafting down the Mississippi in a homemade raft would be something exciting to read or write about.

Mark Twain maybe dead, but so is his writing.

I sincerely hope that future generations will not be subjected to such literary bore as I was by my parents when they gave me books by Mark Twain.

Sincerely,
Adam Howell

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