Mark Twain: An American Original
November 04, 2012
Ernest Hemingway was quoted as saying, "American literature begins with Huck Finn." However, Mark Twain wrote other good books before he created the Huck Finn character. Our North Independence Masterpiece Book Club has selected one of those earlier books, The Innocents Abroad, for its next discussion. We’re meeting Monday November 19th at 7:00 p.m. Copies of the book will be kept at the main level circulation desk. All are welcome to participate!
The Innocents Abroad was first published in 1869. It came about as a result of Twain’s days as a young journalist. He was assigned to go with a group of American tourists and report on their European traveling experiences. But instead of writing a traditional travel narrative, he mostly satirized the things he saw on the trip-including some of the American tourists themselves. When the book first came out, not everyone was pleased with his quips. Nevertheless, Mark Twain mastered a writing style in this work that would forever endear him to his readers.
Twain was simply an American original. His imaginative wit concealed a keen intelligence. He often made use of tall tales and stretched the truth as he does in The Innocents Abroad. Another important feature of Twain's work was his utilization of journeys or trips. Certainly, it’s the basis for The Innocents Abroad. It’s equally apparent in his book Life on the Mississippi. Moreover, it takes on added meaning as Huck Finn and Jim float down the Mississippi River in Twain’s iconic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
After his death had been falsely reported, Mark Twain remarked that "reports of my death have been highly exaggerated." We can make a similar point about Twain’s literary works. They simply improve with age and are as delightful as ever. This is especially true in the ways in which he expressed certain strengths of the American spirit through a unique blend of humor and perceptive insights. Therefore, any reports that Mark Twain’s works have lost a little zing are indeed "highly exaggerated."
Our discussions concerning great books are enjoyable and insightful. MCPL’s many library branches have different types of book clubs; there are even online book clubs. So, why not explore what we have to offer? It's never too late to discover a new favorite!
North Independence Branch