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"Charles Stanion (ENG)" <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 11 Apr 1995 11:49:55 -0400
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Jonathan Swift is often mentioned in the criticism as influential to Twain's
work, but I am unable to find much on stylistic similarities. All I've
found are passing remarks--nothing in-depth. Walsh's "Rude Awakenings and
Swift Recoveries: The Problem of Reality in MT's 'The Great Dark' and
"3000 Years Among the Microbes'" in _ALR 1870-1910_ is a good article, but
limited in scope.

Have there been any studies comparing/contrasting Twain and Swift?
Anything on a shift in satiric strategies from Swift to Twain?

I know Twain liked _Gulliver's Travels_ but felt parts of it too coarse for
Livy; that says something about his thoughts on satire and literary
propriety. But "1601" seems to me as unrefined as treed Yahoos. So while
scatology is less prevalent in Twain than in Swift, both authors
certainly use it for satiric effect. Or do you suppose "1601" is simply a
joke, and not a significant indicator of Twain's satiric strategies?

What of other strategies? How do Swift and Twain differ in their use
of parody? Or of anti-climax, exaggeration, innuendo, irony, overcrowding,
reversal of values, disjunction, entrapment, unreliable narrators,
juxtaposition of high & low diction, discontinuity? I'm thinking a
comparison of these two satirists could help define a uniquely American

I welcome comments on this subject, and will appreciate any
references offered.

Chuck Stanion