As a fairly new subscriber to the Twain List myself, I was saddened to see
Mr. Gomberg's reply to Susan Reed's query about teaching (or not teaching)
Twain because of the "drama of beset manhood" interpretation. I don't
myself a "radical feminist" bearing the label of "lunatic fringe" to which
refers, but I am a feminist who sees little merit in such namecalling.
My response to Susan Reed's question would be that I find it unfortunate
some professors wouldn't teach Twain because of this one interpretation of
"beset manhood," which may or may not be supported in the majority of
works. This approach seems to me limiting and constricting, although it may
one way of responding to the continuing enigma of Twain. I think women
definitely figure very prominently in Twain's works, whether in the
of the story itself or in the cultural context surrounding its production.
me, even if Twain's works are indeed such "dramas of beset manhood," this
wouldn't negate their importance or their appropriateness or their value in
classroom. This would just be added to all the other reasons for studying
Twain from a cultural perspective, as well as for HOW his humor is used to
respond to his particular socio-political milieu.
No, Professor Reed, I do not find you or your question "confrontational,"
I hope we both enjoy the stimulation of the Twain List.
Dr. Judy Sneller