By Mark Twain
There is not any restrict to Mark Twain's artistic genius, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has to be said the main a laugh ebook he has written in years. the easiest facts of Twain's diversity and originality is located during this ebook, within which the reader's curiosity is so strongly enlisted within the fortunes of 2 boys and a runaway slave that he follows their adventures with willing interest, even supposing his logic tells him that the incidents are as absurd as they're outstanding. Huckleberry Finn is a travel de strength, within which the main not likely fabrics are transmuted right into a paintings of literary artwork. —The San Francisco Chronicle, 15 March 15, 1885
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Stewart of course describes an objectively verifiable formal shift within texts themselves, but the force of Rainey’s work—and that of several other critics writing in his wake, including Catherine Turner’s Marketing Modernism Between the Two World Wars (2003) and Aaron Jaffe’s Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity (2005)—is to so profoundly alter our understanding of modernists’ real-world activity as to necessitate thorough reevaluation of the significances granted to modernist form. This work reveals the modernists’ brave and haughty stance of serene indifference to the worldly fate of texts secure in their status as great art—a corollary or contributor to what I have quoted Stewart calling “a vision of community too besieged for the gesture of familiarity and affi liation sketched by address” (33)—as, to a large degree, mere posturing.
40 A S I L AY DYING In recounting the trials of poultry-farming, Cora emphasizes twice, immediately preceding her enunciation of the “sees” and “saws,” that it was on her “sayso” that she and Vernon Tull bought the more expensive variety of chickens (6, 7). Not only does her word-choice prepare the reader’s ear for the seesaw to follow; her entire narrative presents a long series of seesawing fortunes. The “say-so” itself seesaws implicitly between Cora and Vernon (she suggests the costlier chickens, he “admits that a good breed of cows or hogs pays in the long run” , and they take them on her final say-so); the initial cost is meant to be offset by the eventual greater return on a good breed; the apparent wisdom of Miss Lawington’s encouraging Cora in her choice runs afoul of the loss of several chickens to possums and snakes, but Cora promises that “the difference in the number of eggs would make it up” (6).
For 18 INTRODUCTION Stewart, all of this serves “narrative interest itself” (5) rather than the pursuit of the author standing behind the text. Not only do I think Stewart’s formulations are apposite to discerning the author within what all these critics correctly describe as a textual environment far more conducive than is nineteenthcentury fiction to self-consciousness and thus to active reflection on the manner in which texts are made, but I also see his language as providing the beginning of a response to the limitations Wayne Booth draws on the tenor of author-reader interactions in The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961).