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Wesley Britton <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 30 Aug 2001 22:35:13 -0500
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Due to the generosity of Lou Budd, who kindly sent me a copy of the new
Penguin edition of THE GILDED AGE, I benefited tonight from the insights Lou
made in his introduction for that volume. As I presume some Twainian will
get the nod to write a review of the edition for the Forum, I won't say much
here except to note all Forum members will want a copy, if for no other
reason, than because the Mark Twain Forum is mentioned. (Lou refers to our
discussion on the origin of the book's title.)  Our own Kevin Bochynski is
thanked for his tracking down the use of THE GILDED AGE in other Twain

While Lou claims purists will prefer the Oxford version, students will
likely find the Penguin edition more useful because of the supplementary
material.  Lou's intro focuses on reader responses to the book, from the
wives of the authors to contemporary critics to modern readers, illustrating
why the novel is still important and readable. Along the way, he says much
about Warner's role in the process as well as including many paragraphs of
critical analysis of the text.  One quick reference caught my eye when Lou
mentioned Henry Adams DEMOCRACY, a book I think of automatically when
pondering "The Gilded Age" as a historical period.  So I offer this topic
for discussion: does anyone have any compare/contrast ideas on the two
novels or any similar compare/contrast ideas about other politically
oriented novels of the era by other writers?