Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Are you sure? He looks like Mark Twain."

I was recently re-introduced to one of my all-time favorite works, The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain. Now, mind you, I hate hate hate The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for various reasons which I won't get into here, but Twain as a writer is a genius. I loved A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court, and I also love this re-write of the original Genesis story which is in turn hilarious and touching.

What makes the stories even better, though, is that at one time the original collection was banned because it featured pictures of--gasp!--a naked lady. Because it's not like the Bible made it abundantly and explicitly clear that Eve was naked or anything. Now, you might be asking me what's so funny about a book being banned (since you probably already know my views on banning books). Here was Twain's response to the controversy:
"The whole episode has rather amused me. I have no feeling of vindictiveness over the stand of the librarians there — I am only amused. You see they did not object to my book; they objected to Lester Ralph's pictures. I wrote the book; I did not make the pictures. I admire the pictures, and I heartily approve them, but I did not make them.
"It seems curious to me — some of the incidents in this case. It appears that the pictures in Eve's Diary were first discovered by a lady librarian. When she made the dreadful find, being very careful, she jumped at no hasty conclusions — not she — she examined the horrid things in detail. It took her some time to examine them all, but she did her hateful duty! I don't blame her for this careful examination; the time she spent was, I am sure, enjoyable, for I found considerable fascination in them myself.
"Then she took the book to another librarian, a male this time, and he, also, took a long time to examine the unclothed ladies. He must have found something of the same sort of fascination in them that I found…"

Later, in a letter to a friend, he wrote, "the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me." [1]

How can you not love this guy? Anyway, read the diaries. They're fairly short and they're located at this link: http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/mtwain/bl-mtwain-exadam-1.htm
Work Semi-Cited:
[1] Got these quotations from wikipedia (and yes, I can hear your scorn from here), and the links take you to this guy's website because he's trying to sell some books: http://www.jimzwick.net/. Does this count as a citation?

2 comments:

Chatty Cathy said...

Thanks for the new post, you made my day!

Lindsay-with-an-A said...

Don't you mean Mark Twain made your day? They are honestly hilarious.

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